In December, Russian activists scored a major victory for whales and dolphins, gathering 100,000 signatures urging the Russian government to ban the capture of live cetaceans for science and educational purposes. The signatures were collected through a government website that accepts citizen petitions to create new laws, and 100,000 is enough to trigger action by the state. Last year, more than 100 whales were caught in Russian waters for sale to Chinese aquariums under this legal loophole. They were held for months in the notorious "whale jail" before being released in November. Earth Island's International Marine Mammal Project helped Russian conservationists, international scientists, and celebrities push the Russian government to release the whales — which include both beluga whales and orcas — back into the ocean. For more information, check out IMMP’s News Blogs.