Plan to display orcas at Sochi Olympics sparks outrage

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by GARY CHITTIM / KING 5 News

KREM.com

Posted on January 27, 2014 at 8:57 AM

SEATTLE -- Northwest whale groups are outraged by reports that recently captured orcas may be on exhibit during the Olympic Games in Sochi.

Paul Spong, Co-Founder of OrcaLab, a marine research facility in British Columbia, said there was a confirmed capture of seven orcas near Japan last year and two of the animals were sent to Moscow. Spong said protection groups believe they were to be sent from there to Sochi. But he said worldwide criticism may have forced the Russians to reconsider because at last report the orcas were still in Moscow.

Spong said capturing orcas for entertainment in any venue is wrong but especially for the Olympics, which he said is about human achievement not snatching orcas from their families.

Michael Harris, Executive Director of The Pacific Whale Watch Association, said catching orcas is like stepping back in time to the 1960s when people in the U.S. were capturing them for theme parks.

We have been unable to find any promotional material indicating orcas will be used as an attraction at a theme park in Sochi that currently features dolphins and other marine mammals.

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