. Space Travel News .

100 Beluga whales trapped in Russian Far East
by Staff Writers
Moscow (AFP) Dec 14, 2011

Over 100 Beluga whales are trapped in water between ice floes in the Chukotka region of Russia's Far East, the authorities said, calling on the government to send an ice-breaker to free them.

"A group of over 100 Beluga whales are cut off from the sea and are prisoners of ice floes in the Bering Sea," the Chukotka region said in a statement on its website, saying the local governor Roman Kopin had requested an ice-breaker.

It said that the whales were trapped just 15 kilometres (10 miles) south of the village of Yanrakynot on the Bering Sea.

The statement said the Kopin had written a letter to Transport Minister Igor Levitin and Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu "to study the possibility of sending an ice-breaker to save the whales."

It said that the whales risked becoming starved and the advance of the ice floes was reducing the space that they had to swim in.

"Given the lack of food and the speed at which the water is freezing, all the animals are threatened with exhaustion and death," it added.

The Chukotka government said that the Russian ice-breaking tug Rubin was just two days sail time away and could bring help to the whales.

The Beluga whale is a protected species in Russia and it is one of a handful of wild animals whose cause has been championed by Russian Prime Minister and nature lover Vladimir Putin.

The Beluga even has a special page on the prime minister's website (http://premier.gov.ru/patron/beluha/), an honour also accorded to the Amur tiger, polar bear and snow leopard.

In a widely-mediatised stunt in July 2009, Putin donned a wetsuit during a meeting with scientists on Russia's Pacific coast and clipped a radio transmitter onto a Beluga whale named Dasha.

The whales can measure up to six metres and weigh two tonnes. They can stay submerged for 25 minutes before coming to the surface to breathe.

In Russia, they live in the freezing Arctic waters of the north of the Russian Far East as well as in the White Sea and Barents Sea in the northwest of Russia.

The page devoted to the whales on Putin's website says that it is not clear how many Beluga whales live in the wild as scientific research into them only resumed in 2008.

Their habitats are threatened by the oil industry, global warming and hunting, according to ecologists.

Whales are often trapped in the Arctic ice but rarely in such numbers as in the incident off Chukotka.

Chukotka is Russia's most northeasterly region, its population blighted by problems of alcoholism and social deprivation but boosted by support from billionaire Roman Abramovich, the Chelsea football club owner, who previously served several years as its governor.

Related Links
Follow the Whaling Debate

Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries


. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

US, Australia, NZ 'disappointed' on Japan whale hunt
Washington (AFP) Dec 13, 2011
The United States, Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands said Tuesday they were "disappointed" over the start of Japan's annual whale hunt off Antarctica and warned against violent clashes. Japanese ships operating in the icy waters of the Southern Ocean have in recent years faced interference from the US-based militant environmentalist group Sea Shepherd, with repeated confrontations o ... read more

AMOS-5 Communications Satellite Successfully Launched

Second Arianespace Soyuz rolled out for launch at Spaceport Kourou

O3b signs agreement with Arianespace for third Soyuz launch

NASA Announces Launch Date and Milestones for Spacex Flight

Phobos-Grunt mission now impossible says chief designer

In Search Of A Wet Warm Life Filled Mars

System could be 'brain' for Mars rovers

Life possible on 'large parts' of Mars: study

Peres promotes Israeli moon probe

Hundreds of NASA's moon rocks missing: audit

Schafer Corp Signs Licensing Agreement with MoonDust Technologies

Russia wants to focus on Moon if Mars mission fails

New Horizons Becomes Closest Spacecraft to Approach Pluto

Pluto's Hidden Ocean

Is the Pluto System Dangerous?

Starlight study shows Pluto's chilly twin

Giant Super-Earths Made Of Diamond Are Possible

New Planet Kepler-21b discovery a partnership of both space and ground-based observations

Astronomers Find Goldilocks Planet and Others

The Habitable Exoplanets Catalog, a new online database of habitable worlds

DLR tests Australian spacecraft

First J-2X Combustion Stability Test a Success

NASA Ready to Test Upgraded J-2X Powerpack

Lockheed Martin Selected USAF for Reusable Booster System Flight Demonstrator Program

Two and a Half Men for Shenzhou

China honors its 'father' of space efforts

Philatelic Cover Reveals the secret names of second Taikonaut team

First Crew for Tiangong

NASA Developing Comet Harpoon for Sample Return

Dawn Spirals Down to Lowest Orbit Above Vesta

Is Vesta the Smallest Terrestrial Planet

Asteroid Vesta in a Rainbow-Colored Palette


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement