Skip to content
All articles
  • All articles
  • About whales & dolphins
  • Create healthy seas
  • End captivity
  • Green Whale
  • Prevent deaths in nets
  • Scottish Dolphin Centre
  • Stop whaling
Dead sperm whale in The Wash, East Anglia, England. © CSIP-ZSL.

What have dead whales ever done for us?

When dead whales wash up on dry land they provide a vital food source for...
Risso's dolphin © Andy Knight

We’re getting to know Risso’s dolphins in Scotland so we can protect them

Citizen scientists in Scotland are helping us better understand Risso's dolphins by sending us their...
Pilot whales pooing © Christopher Swann

Talking crap and carcasses to protect our planet

We know we need to save the whale to save the world because they are...
Fin whales are targeted by Icelandic whalers

Speaking truth to power – my week giving whales a voice

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting is where governments come together to make decisions about whaling...

Why do whales and dolphins strand on beaches?

People often ask me 'why' whales and dolphins do one thing or another.  I'm a...
A spinner dolphin leaping © Andrew Sutton/Eco2

Head in a spin – my incredible spinner dolphin encounter

Sri Lanka is home to at least 30 species of whales and dolphins, from the...
Sperm whale (physeter macrocephalus) Gulf of California. The tail of a sperm whale.

To protect whales, we must stop ignoring the high seas

Almost two-thirds of the ocean, or 95% of the habitable space on Earth, are sloshing...
WDC team at UN Ocean conference

Give the ocean a chance – our message from the UN Ocean Conference

I'm looking out over the River Tejo in Lisbon, Portugal, reflecting on the astounding resilience...
All policy news
  • All policy news
  • Create healthy seas
  • End captivity
  • Prevent deaths in nets
  • Stop whaling
  • Strandings

Minke whale hunts stop in Iceland

Iceland’s commercial hunt of minke whales has ended for this year. The common minke whale is the...
Port River dolphins

New report reveals 100,000 dolphins and small whales hunted every year

When you hear the words ‘dolphin hunts’ it’s likely that you think of Japan or...

End the whale hunts! Icelandic fin whaler isolated as public mood shifts

Here’s a sight I hoped never again to witness. A boat being scrubbed and repainted...

Australian Government to block Japanese whaling proposal

Japanese Government officials have reportedly confirmed that they will propose the resumption of commercial whaling...

Pregnant whales once again a target for Japanese whalers

Figures from Japan's whaling expedition to Antarctica during the 2017/18 austral summer have revealed that...

Did Icelandic whalers really kill a blue whale?

*Warning - this blog contains an image that you may find upsetting* They say a...

Icelandic whalers breach international law and kill iconic, protected whale by mistake

Icelandic whalers out hunting fin whales for the first time in three years appear to...

Doubts remain after Icelandic Marine Institute claims slaughtered whale was a hybrid not a blue

Experts remain sceptical of initial test results issued by the Icelandic Marine Institute, which indicate...

Japan set to resume commercial whaling

Reports from Japan suggest that the government they will formally propose plans to resume commercial...

Norway's whaling season begins

April 1st saw the start of the whaling season in Norway. Despite a widely-accepted international moratorium...

Norway increases whaling quota despite declining demand

Norway's government has announced an increase in the number of minke whales that can be...

Icelandic fin whale hunting to resume

Iceland’s only fin whaling company, Hvalur hf,  announced today that it will resume fin whaling...

Whitefish – The cruelty behind Russian beluga whale trade

Born to Be Free, an impressive documentary exposing the devastating cruelty behind captive shows and the Russian trade in wild beluga whales, will air tonight on national TV in the UK and is well worth searching out if you live elsewhere.  

Not to be confused with the film classic Born Free from the 1960s, this documentary details the plight of captured belugas from Russia.

The fate of captive orcas has attracted much attention in the last few years due to the documentary, Blackfish, resulting in a public shift away from support for orca shows. But, aside from the long-standing US court battle involving the Georgia Aquarium’s attempts to obtain wild-caught belugas from Russia, the capture and captivity of beluga whales has not before been the subject of such public scrutiny.

It is the Aquarium’s controversial involvement in the continued capture of belugas from a depleted population in the Okhotsk Sea that is the focus of this brave and shocking film. Around 80 belugas are held captive in the United States alone, while China’s burgeoning aquarium industry holds well over 100, almost all of them wild-caught in Russia.

Like Blackfish, Born to be Free offers a glimpse of the glamorous shows in which belugas are presented to large audiences. Yet the living conditions of the belugas and other captive marine mammals are anything but glamorous or entertaining. The film includes rare footage of beluga captures and transport, including never before seen interviews with those involved.

Born to Be Free is a ground-breaking documentary brought to light by three young Russian women who travelled the world to trace the fate of 18 Russian belugas caught up in a cruel trade. It gives a voice to those who cannot speak for themselves and defend their freedom. Bringing the cruel practice of beluga captures in Russian waters to the public’s attention, along with the horrific holding conditions and the money-making facilities themselves is long overdue.

Born to Be Free, 7th Dec, Channel 4, 11.25pm.  

WDC is currently working with Merlin Entertainments to establish a sanctuary for beluga whales held in captivity.

Donate to help create a sanctuary.


Beluga in captivity