Leonardo DiCaprio has joined Pamela Anderson this week in calling on Russia to release dozens of orcas and belugas held in a so-called “whale jail” in the country’s Far East.
Novaya Gazeta reported in late 2018 that about 100 Orcas and Belugas are being held in small temporary enclosures in a bay near the city of Nakhodka, on Russia’s Pacific coast. Activists have reported that the animals are being mistreated and are bound for export to a marine park in China.
According to the 1982 worldwide moratorium on commercial whale hunting, whales may be captured for scientific and educational purpose only.
U.S. actress and animal rights activist Pamela Anderson penned an open letter on Sunday asking Russian President Vladimir Putin to order the release of the captive killer whales and belugas.
DiCaprio followed up on Tuesday to Anderson’s letter with calls for his 19 million followers to sign an online petition.
The change.org petition he links to on Twitter urges the release of five baby walruses, 11 orcas and 90 baby belugas.
It has received almost 900,000 signatures as of early Wednesday.
Russian prosecutors opened a case late last year into the health of the animals. But activists are afraid that if it takes too long — the whales will be smuggled to customers.
Last week, Putin ordered his environmental and agricultural ministers to “determine the fate” of the marine mammals by Friday, March 1.