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Update: Sad News For Trapped Beluga Whales

Update: Sad News For Trapped Beluga Whales

News about the rescue mission to save 100 Beluga whales trapped off Russia’s Far Eastern Peninsula of the Bering Sea took a turn for the worse on Monday. Emergency services reported they were suspending the operation because of bad weather.

Officials said the tug boat that was sent by Russia’s Emergencies Minister to break through the ice and free the whales was unable to make it through the thick ice floes leading to the spot where the whales are trapped. It returned to a nearby port to refuel and wait for the weather to calm down.

“If the weather and ice conditions in the area improve, the operation may continue,” said spokesperson Lubomir Mukha.

The Belugas were discovered on December 14 by local hunters. A wide belt of ice that is 30 to 50 feet thick is surrounding the whales, making it impossible for them to swim to the open sea.

Holes in the ice have allowed the large mammals to come up for air, but there is great concern the whales may eventually starve because food in the enclosed area is limited.

The good news is that experts from the Chukotka Fishery Research Center have calculated there is enough food in the channel to feed the whales at least until January. So keep your fingers crossed that the weather improves and the whales get another chance to be rescued.

Beluga whales are highly intelligent creatures. One of the huge white mammals was caught showing-off for a photographer at Kamogawa Sea World near Tokyo on Christmas Day. The whale is seen waving and blowing a bubble ring to the audience. 

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Photo from mikejsolutions via flickr.

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131 comments

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2:37PM PDT on Jul 20, 2012

All keeping our fingers crossed

4:33PM PDT on Apr 14, 2012

Great news, thank you for the update.

4:31PM PDT on Apr 14, 2012

Surely more countries than just Russia could come together to free these poor whales....Hats off to Russia for trying....keep our fingers crossed that the weather lets up and they can be freed.

4:02AM PDT on Mar 29, 2012

Thank you Jes E. for updating us with the good news that nature has freed these whales.

10:10PM PDT on Mar 22, 2012

Hey Putin- just do it!

4:41AM PST on Mar 9, 2012

I feel very sad for the beluga whales. if they are free, they never win, they will be killing by the same hunters that discovered they were trapped, is barbaric and cruel to kill this magnificents, sensible, intelligent animals, how come this hunters kill this animals for culture, for profit or for food, they have to stop they have to respect this animals they are almost like humans, and they give us a lesson of forgiveness, humans kill them, and they still trust humans, they show more compassion that the murderes hunters and goverments that are killing them.

6:55PM PST on Jan 30, 2012

Ta, noted the good news as well! All is well that ends well.

6:34PM PST on Jan 30, 2012

Good News!!! An article dated January 15, 2012 read as follows,WASHINGTON - (AFP) - A hundred beluga whales that were left trapped under the ice in Chukotka (Russian Far East) in mid-December were able to reach the open sea by a storm that broke the ice, said Friday AFP agency Transport & Shipping.

"Strong winds have caused the formation of a large crack in the ice allowing the beluga to reach the open sea," said a spokesman for the agency, adding that local authorities had indicated that the end of December sending an icebreaker on the scene to save the whales "was no longer necessary."

8:35AM PST on Jan 20, 2012

I hope everything will be all right...

7:37AM PST on Jan 19, 2012

I sure wish we could get another update!!!!!!!!!!!!! I hope they are okay.

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