This is the moment a Russian aquarium instructor apparently whacks two beluga whales during a training session.
The incident was filmed at the Primorskiy Oceanarium on Russky Island in Peter the Great Gulf in the far-eastern Russian region of Primorsky Krai, bordering with North Korea.
The footage was widely shared on the Russian social network VK where the trainer said he was only distracting an “aggressive” whale from getting frisky with another.
The clip was also posted on Instagram by the animal rights group ‘Free Russian Whales’ where it has been viewed nearly 30,000 times.
The video shows a male instructor apparently slapping two beluga whales in an aquarium swimming pool during a training session.
Primorskiy Oceanarium spokesperson Elena Poddubnaya confirmed that an internal investigation is underway after the video was shared online.
Poddubnaya said the video clip misses context as it is not clearly shown what happened before the instructor slapped the whales, adding: “During the rutting period, animals often show aggression towards each other, sometimes causing injury.”
The unnamed trainer said his actions were intended to distract an aggressive whale.
Poddubnaya said: “The animals did not receive any injuries as a result of the trainer’s actions.”
The internal investigation is ongoing.
The local public prosecutor’s office also confirmed that they will look into the matter.
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