MOSCOW (AP) — Russian officials say a plan to put nearly 100 illegally captured whales back in open water has been successful so far, but environmentalists claim it was poorly planned.
The first group was released into the Sea of Okhotsk last week. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Gordeyev told President Vladimir Putin the whales have since fully readapted to a natural habitat.
Greenpeace Russia coordinator Oganes Targulyan said Thursday he thinks the marine mammals should have spent some time in temporary enclosures before they were let into the open sea.
Targulyan says the whales were moved on trucks inside water tanks, putting them at unnecessary risk.
Russian Federal Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography director Kirill Kolonchin rejected the criticism and said all due precautions were taken.