Jean-Michel Cousteau and The Whale Sanctuary Project Team on Returning Whales to Ocean

June 26, 2019

Russia has begun the process of returning the whales that were illegally captured last year back to the area where they were captured. Jean-Michel Cousteau and The Whale Sanctuary Project have the following statement:

“Along with our Whale Sanctuary Project international team, Charles Vinick and I have been closely following the progress of Russia’s planned release of orcas and belugas illegally caught last year. I want to commend Russian President Vladimir Putin and other Russian government officials for making the decision to release these orcas and belugas back into the waters where they were captured. As Vice Premiere Gordeyev said last week, this was the “only right decision.”

Six belugas and two orcas have been transported in a long and complex operation. The eyes of the world are focused on this difficult operation. A release of this scale – 10 orcas and 87 belugas – has never been done before.

This operation is so complicated and so important that Russia must have the best specialists from around the world available to help where needed. I am hearing concerns from the public about the lack of transparency that we have seen so far with the operation.

I therefore recommend that the Russian government include international specialists and Russian observers. I want to again state that I and our international team are prepared to assist in every way we can. I remember, when I was in Moscow, that Minister of Natural Resources Dmitry Kobylkin said to us directly that we must all be part of a unified team to see this release through to its successful end.

Let’s do everything in our power to make sure that this is a success, so that President Putin and all of us can celebrate the incredible achievement of returning 10 orcas and 87 belugas to their families and to their home. That will be a great day for the oceans and for humanity!”

Protect The Ocean And You Protect Yourself.

Warm Regards,


Jean-Michel Cousteau
President, Ocean Futures Society

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Special thanks to Harry Rabin for allowing us to use video of orcas and belugas he recorded in Russia.