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Russians bid to free ice whales

Russian rescuers are scrambling to reach some 100 beluga whales trapped among large chunks of polar ice floating in the Bering Sea.

Russia's nature protection watchdog says there is a chance that the whales might die.

Authorities say the ice is 10-15 centimetres thick and is preventing the whales from reaching the open sea where they can swim freely.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology said 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.

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