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COVID 19- Canceling WDC Travel, Not Momentum

COVID 19- Canceling WDC Travel, Not Momentum

I am writing this on the evening of Tuesday March 10th, just hours after the...
How we’re tackling whaling in Norway

How we’re tackling whaling in Norway

We’re helping to spearhead a campaign – supported by an international coalition of almost 40...
Record breaker Riptide the orca swims from Iceland to Lebanon

Record breaker Riptide the orca swims from Iceland to Lebanon

A male orca, commonly known as Riptide, has been spotted in waters around Beirut, Lebanon,...
How do you thank someone who has changed your life?

How do you thank someone who has changed your life?

*This is the third part of a three-part blog series. You can read the first...
Dipping my toes into the policy pool

Dipping my toes into the policy pool

Just a few short months after I packed everything I owned and drove from California...
Mel on the boat with a whale

From the Pacific Coast to the North Atlantic Right Whale

WDC’s internship is designed to give interns a taste of life at a marine mammal...
From One Mother to Another

From One Mother to Another

See the part that is sticking out? It isn't supposed to look like that. Georgia...
Japan’s government agrees to more funding for whale hunts

Japan’s government agrees to more funding for whale hunts

Japan’s Diet (parliament) has passed a law to help support commercial whaling through increased funding...

Whitefish – The cruelty behind Russian beluga whale trade

Born to Be Free, an impressive documentary exposing the devastating cruelty behind captive shows and the Russian trade in wild beluga whales, will air tonight on national TV in the UK and is well worth searching out if you live elsewhere.  

Not to be confused with the film classic Born Free from the 1960s, this documentary details the plight of captured belugas from Russia.

The fate of captive orcas has attracted much attention in the last few years due to the documentary, Blackfish, resulting in a public shift away from support for orca shows. But, aside from the long-standing US court battle involving the Georgia Aquarium’s attempts to obtain wild-caught belugas from Russia, the capture and captivity of beluga whales has not before been the subject of such public scrutiny.

It is the Aquarium’s controversial involvement in the continued capture of belugas from a depleted population in the Okhotsk Sea that is the focus of this brave and shocking film. Around 80 belugas are held captive in the United States alone, while China’s burgeoning aquarium industry holds well over 100, almost all of them wild-caught in Russia.

Like Blackfish, Born to be Free offers a glimpse of the glamorous shows in which belugas are presented to large audiences. Yet the living conditions of the belugas and other captive marine mammals are anything but glamorous or entertaining. The film includes rare footage of beluga captures and transport, including never before seen interviews with those involved.

Born to Be Free is a ground-breaking documentary brought to light by three young Russian women who travelled the world to trace the fate of 18 Russian belugas caught up in a cruel trade. It gives a voice to those who cannot speak for themselves and defend their freedom. Bringing the cruel practice of beluga captures in Russian waters to the public’s attention, along with the horrific holding conditions and the money-making facilities themselves is long overdue.

Born to Be Free, 7th Dec, Channel 4, 11.25pm.  

WDC is currently working with Merlin Entertainments to establish a sanctuary for beluga whales held in captivity.

Donate to help create a sanctuary.


Beluga in captivity