Russia scrambles to save some 100 trapped whales

AP News
Posted: Dec 15, 2011 10:29 AM
Russia scrambles to save some 100 trapped whales

Russian agencies are scrambling to some 100 beluga whales _ an endangered species _ that are trapped among large chunks of polar ice floating in the frigid Bering Sea.

Russia's nature protection watchdog says there is a chance that the whales might perish. Authorities say the ice is 10-15 centimeters (4-6 inches) thick and is preventing the whales from reaching the open sea where they can swim freely.

Russia's Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology said Thursday that it has asked the Transportation Ministry for help and that an inter-departmental group is working on how to save the whales.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature listed the beluga whale as an endangered species in 2008.