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Critically endangered whales flee Russian oil, gas boom

continues to shut out public opposition to its actions with

some WWF members reporting that their emails to Rosneft's outgoing President Sergei Bogdanchikov had been blocked.

Scientists from the Western Gray Whale Advisory Panel (WGWAP), a group of eminent whale scientists, have also repeatedly asked the company to postpone the surveys until the whales have left the area. A letter sent from 12 governments to the Russian government asking them to make Rosneft postpone the survey also went unheeded.

"Rosneft is irresponsibly insisting on conducting this survey when they could easily postpone the survey until next year and hold it before the whales arrive," said Aleksey Knizhnikov, Oil & Gas Environmental Policy officer, WWF Russia. "Rosneft may be ignoring public outcry but their negligent behavior will not be forgotten, and they will have to be held responsible for any harm that comes to the whales as a result of these surveys."

Postponing the surveys would also enable Rosneft to develop the precautionary monitoring and mitigation measures that are essential to minimize the impact of the seismic survey on the whales. Monitoring and mitigation measures have already been developed by the WGWAP, and are being used by another company in the same area.

WWF and other NGOs have dozens of observers and boats on Sakhalin Island this year and will be monitoring the test and how it affects the feeding whales.

In addition, WWF is planning this week to approach Rosneft's new president, who started today, about postponing the seismic surveys.


Contact: Wendy Elliott
World Wildlife Fund

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