Pamela Anderson has sent an urgent letter on PETA's behalf to Russian President Vladimir Putin asking him to call off the country’s plan to capture 13 wild orcas and an untold number of beluga whales from the Sea of Okhotsk and subject them to a lifetime in captivity.

Citing Putin’s advocacy for wildlife and strong opposition from scientists and members of the public, Anderson writes:

“As a longtime fan of your advocacy for wildlife, it upset me deeply to learn that Russia is considering a plan to abduct 13 orcas and an untold number of beluga whales from their families in the wild. Taking intelligent marine mammals from the wild and selling them to marine parks — especially those in China, where no animal-welfare laws exist — is inhumane. And eliminating what independent researchers say would be roughly 5 percent of the targeted orca population in the Sea of Okhotsk would be unsustainable.

“In the United States, Southern Resident orcas became endangered in part because of SeaWorld and other marine parks. In 1965, hunters captured a young Southern Resident killer whale after harpooning and killing her mother, and they named her Shamu. This kicked off a decade of cruel captures and killings of orcas in U.S. waters until 1976, when SeaWorld was chased out of Washington state after longtime Secretary of State Ralph Munro (then an aide to the governor) observed that the company’s captors dropped explosives from airplanes into the ocean. The Southern Resident orca population was reduced by more than 30 percent and still has not bounced back.

“America’s history with marine mammals is far from great, but Russia can do better. Will you ensure that Russian orcas and beluga whales are protected and halt plans to take them from the Sea of Okhotsk?”

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