Even with “Blackfish” and orca freedom movements gaining international ground, all the information available illustrating why orcas do not belong in captivity seems to be falling on deaf ears in Russia.
According to the Mirror, hunters have officially captured two wild orcas that will be kept in a “small concrete tank following a 4,614-mile flight” from Russia’s far east. The aim is to have these two orcas on display at the Sochi Dolphinarium just in time for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, which will begin on February 7.
“It’s a sad day for Russia, a sad thing for the Olympics and a very sad situation for two orcas who now will be flying across seven time zones to spend the rest of their lives in captivity,” a spokesperson for Whale and Dolphin Conservation said via the Mirror.
This capture comes just a few months after seven other wild orcas were brought into captivity from Russia’s Sea of Okhotsk. Like the new orca pair, these seven are set to live the remainder of their lives in concrete pools far from their wild homes where they once swam up to 100 miles a day.
Russia’s decision is not just a blatant disregard for marine mammal protection and the 89,813 signers of this petition urging Sochi not to display orcas. It is also a huge slap in the face to what the Olympics truly stand for.
The Olympic games showcase the brilliant and wondrous feats the human body can accomplish, but in capturing orcas, Russia has turned this celebration and competition on its head by taking away these very same brilliant and wondrous feats from another species.
What’s more, forcing orcas to lock away their natural behaviors just so a little extra cash can be made is far cry from the “moral beauty” Pierre de Coubertin remarked that the Olympic games motto, Citius, Altius, Fortius (Faster, Higher, Stronger), embodies.
There is nothing beautiful in taking away another species’ freedom. And there has never been anything moral about it either.
What's wrong with people though?