Following months of speculation as to the fate of two wild orcas being held in captivity in Moscow, and mounting outrage over suspicions that they were to be forced to perform for tourists at the opening of the Winter Olympics, confirmation has finally emerged -- the orcas are not headed to Sochi.
According to Erich Hoyt, an orca expert with Whale and Dolphin Conservation, event organizers say the orcas will not be on displayed at the Sochi games as many had feared:
"No orcas will be exhibited at the Olympics in Sochi. Also no dolphin will carry the torch, as earlier proposed by the region. Both of these confirmed by the President, Sochi Olympic Committee. There had been a plan to send orcas to Sochi (but not necessarily for the Olympics) in early December but it was postponed."
The two orcas in question, a female named Narnia stolen from the wild in 2012 and an unnamed male captured last September, are among five others taken into captivity from the Sea of Okhotsk last year. While their whereabout had been largely unknown since November, Hoyt says five have since been exported already. The others may still end up in the Sochi Dolphinarium eventually.