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Putin Helps Scientists Study Whales off Russia’s Pacific Coast

Putin Helps Scientists Study Whales off Russia’s Pacific Coast
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VLADIVOSTOK. August 26. VOSTOK-MEDIA – Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Wednesday took part in a scientific expedition together with biologists at Kronotsky nature reserve during his visit to Kamchatka. 

When Prime Minister flew to Olga Bay he put on a diving suit and set out in a dinghy to search for whales.

Researchers at Kronotsky have seen a great number of whales in Olga Bay lately. These marine giants weighing 15 to 35 tons are one of the oldest mammals on Earth. Scientific evidence shows that whales have been roaming the Earth’s waters for 30 million years. Unfortunately, they are now on the edge of extinction and are listed in the Red List of Threatened Species.

After a half an hour of searching, the scientists, together with Vladimir Putin, were lucky to spot several gray whales which were sending fountains of water into the air.

Vladimir Burakov, an expert in marine mammals who was accompanying Prime Minister during the scientific voyage, proposed Vladimir Putin to help them collect skin samples of whales.

The analysis of the samples will allow experts to determine where the whale came from. To collect skin samples the Prime Minister was shooting at whales from a special crossbow.

“We were trying to collect samples from three whales, but succeeded only with one,” Putin said to journalists when he was back on shore. “I missed my first three shots and so I hit the whale only at the fourth try. It’s amazing to see them jump out of the water. I like it all, and I like the nature in Kamchatka. And now I appreciate more what the scientists do here,” he said.

Putin said that the expedition was aimed to identify whales that enter the Russian waters. The point is that the population of Korean gray whales has become extinct a way back in the 19th century. And now scientists are trying to figure out whether the whales they spotted are a reviving population of the Korean gray whales or they belong to the so-called California-Chukchi population. The latter are breeding off California coast, and enter the Kamchatka waters in search for food.

In an interview to journalists Putin also highlighted the issues of eco-tourism development in Kamchatka. “This is a very important issue for Russia. We are presently designating tourism and economic zones. But it is not enough: we should encourage and help those tourists that are willing to travel to Kamchatka,” ITAR-TASS quoted Prime Minister as saying. “I’m confident that there will be a huge demand since a vast majority of Russian tourists want to visit this place.”    

It is not the first time that Vladimir Putin helps scientists in their research. He has participated in a number of programs on endangered species preservation. Recently, a new page has appeared on the Prime Minister’s website – Premier.gov.ru, entitled “Under the direct supervision of Prime Minister”. On the page one can trace movements of a Siberian tiger named Serga, a polar bear and white whale named Dasha, all of the animals having had satellite-tracking collars attached to their necks by Vladimir Putin. The collars help scientists to keep track of the animals’ movements and see how they can help the animals to preserve themselves in the wild.   

Photo courtesy of RIA Novosti.

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