There are three orcas at Moscow's still relatively new dolphinarium called Moskvarium. All three are young wild captured transient orcas. If putting a highly intelligent animal in a captive environment wasn't jarring enough, these transient orcas are used to hunting and feeding on larger prey like small mammals, not dead fish like the kind they are being fed in their new home.
These three orcas have already displayed worrisome behavior. They've been recorded lashing out at trainers, acting aggressively towards each other, doing repeated stereotypic behaviors, becoming stuck on the stage/slide-out platform of their tank, and for a while Narnia disappeared completely, only re-appearing after intense public demands to know what happened to her (she was apparently ill after ingesting something in her tank).
What's nearly more worrisome than these animals' behavior is that of their staff. The unfortunate deaths of multiple orca trainers around the world has taught us that, even with safety precautions put in place, extremely intelligent wild animals in a captive situation can be dangerous. Throwing inexperienced staff into the equation is a disaster waiting to happen.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
While you may feel helpless trying to aid these orcas from outside Russia, there are a few things you can do to help us. Keep an eye on them! It's far too common for captive cetaceans in Russia to suddenly disappear or be quietly replaced. While we can't be inside the dolphinariums every single day, we do have an amazing resource at our hands. Social media. Every day hundreds of guests post images and videos to social media during their trip to Moskvarium. During your free time, you can browse through the following links and keep an eye on the cetaceans of Moskvarium. Look out for injuries, acts of aggression, "waterworks" (trainers in the water with the orcas), show disruptions, or questionable behavior. Find something? Feel free to direct message it to us at @keiko_conservation or send us the link or screenshot in an e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.