Japan has killed more than 200 pregnant whales, it has been reported.
According to the country’s Institute for Cetacean Research, 333 minke whales have been killed including more than 200 pregnant females as part of this year’s Antarctic whale hunt, the National Geographic reports.
It said that four ships returned from a 100-day expedition this week as part of a project aiming to conduct 'scientific' whaling activities.
The legitimacy of Japan's programme has been challenged previously by the International Court of Justice in 2014.
Commercial whaling activities have been banned by the International Whaling Commission since 1986, although an exemption remains for scientific studies.
Following the court’s ruling, Japan stopped its whaling activities for a brief period, but started again in 2015.
It changed its programme to make it more scientific and lowered its quota of whales by two-thirds – but the International Whaling Commission has not reached a consensus on whether it has met requirements, the National Geographic reports.
The majority of the whales killed in the current expedition were females because it is now breeding time in the southern seas.
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