An animal trainer in far eastern Russia has been caught on film hitting and kicking two beluga whales – causing a fierce backlash.
Dmitry Bachinsky, 32, who works at the Primorsky Oceanarium in Vladivostok, was caught on film lashing out at two whales, named Nil and Lear.
According to animal rights campaigners, Bachinsky was attempting to teach the animals a trick where they both kiss him at the time of the attack.
When both animals refused to take part in the stunt, he hit one and kicked the other, the group Freedom for Killer Whales and Belugas said.
‘On the left is a 12-year-old beluga whale called Nil and Bachinsky punches him,’ the group alleged.
‘On the right is a 13-year-old male beluga whale called Lear. Bachinsky kicks Lear.’
The statement went on: ‘Sources claim that Bachinsky practises such methods regularly.’
But a source at Primorsky Oceanarium in Vladivostok told PrimaMedia that the captive whales often show aggression towards each other during mating period.
The trainer’s actions were aimed at switching the attention of the aggressive animal, it was claimed.
The oceanarium denied the whales were wounded.
But Dmitry Lisitsyn, from Sakhalin Ekovahta, said: ‘These are abnormal methods, barbaric, and in law this amounts to cruelty to animals.
‘This is not training, but beating.’
The incident was on 5 May but has only just come to light.
There have been previous cases of concern at the oceanarium on Russia’s Pacific coast.
In 2017, a beluga whale died after getting entangled in nets.
In another accident a trainer was fired after beating a walrus.
In addition, three white-barrel dolphins, a sea lion, two walruses and a beluga whale died in the aquarium.
This article was first published by The Daily Mail on 17 May 2021. Lead Image: A visitor rides on a Beluga whale at Geoje Sea World. The animal experience was promoted by the marine park on social network as “VIP ride experience.” Korea Times file.
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