A new documentary funded almost entirely by a IndieGoGo campaign aims to draw attention to the brutal treatment and rapid diminishing number of Beluga whales. “Born to Be Free” will highlight the dangerous predicament of 18 Beluga whales that were captured off the coast of Russia, as well as the overall negative effects of sea mammal captivity.
The 18 animals were originally intended for U.S. aquariums including SeaWorld, but a new law prohibited the import of sea mammals and left the group of Belugas stuck living in too-small tanks in Russia. By the time the documentary catches up with the group after six years of captivity, one whale had died and the others were severely ill.
“Born to Be Free” highlights the growing demand for sea mammals all over the world and the inhumane treatment that awaits them in captivity. “Blackfish,” a recent documentary about the plight of Orca whales, was fairly successful in changing SeaWorld’s treatment of the animals, but according to the “Born to Be Free” IndieGoGo page, changing public perception in other countries will be more difficult.
Marine mammal scientist Dr. Naomi Rose, however, is optimistic. From the IndieGoGo page, she said, “This film has the potential to do for Russia what “Blackfish” has done for the United States. It can open the eyes of the public to the suffering that goes on behind the scenes at dolphinariums.”