To whom it concerns,
You know that I love Russia very much. My great-great-grandmother was from this wonderful country.
You also know how much I love animals. And I want Russia to always be a leader in protecting animals. Russia has been a true leader in the conservation of such animals as Amur Tigers and Far Eastern Leopards.
But I am truly very worried about the situation with cetaceans, with orcas and belugas, in my beloved country of Russia. For several years now, I have been trying to help the Russian government take action on this issue. I have had meetings in the Kremlin, press conferences, and open appeals to Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation.
I have learned about how orcas and belugas are captured in Russia and why – for sale to foreign aquariums, especially in China and other parts of Asia. I have learned how cruel this trade in marine mammals can be. I have seen the terrifying conditions for dolphins in aquariums, and the effects that these aquariums have on their health.
Such unbelievably smart animals can’t be locked up in pens – their basic biological needs require them to swim and dive freely. It seems to me that this is so obvious and should be clear to everyone. But I understand, how difficult it is to change things that have always been done a certain way.
The critical situation with the whale jail in the Russian Far East, where orcas and belugas are suffering, is extraordinarily painful to see. But at the same time, this can be a starting point for recovery.
I ask you to please order the release of the 10 orcas and 87 belugas, before any more die. Do not wait, act now. I hope you will prepare a plan with the help of independent specialists who have experience with the rehabilitation and release of cetaceans.
And, please, stop the capture of these magnificent animals. This would be a great gift for the entire world.