Russia plans to free almost 100 captured whales

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MOSCOW (AP) -- Russian officials say that nearly 100 illegally captured whales could be returned to the wild during the summer.

Russian Natural Resources Minister Dmitry Kobylkin says summer offers the most favorable conditions for releasing 97 belugas and orcas.

Jean-Michel Cousteau of the Ocean Futures Society arrived Friday in Russia's Far East on a mission to inspect the mammals and help create conditions for them to be released. Cousteau, son of famous oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, has voiced concern about the animals' condition and offered his help to the Russian government.

The condition of the animals kept in a marine container facility near the port of Nakhodka has drawn international concern.

Russian scientists estimate that the rehabilitation effort will cost about $4.6 million.