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Action Alert! SeaWorld Imports 18 Belugas Largest Import of Belugas Ever
September 2012

The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta is seeking to import 18 Beluga whales from Russia. The whales would go to the Georgia Aquarium and SeaWorld parks in California, Texas, and Florida, The Shedd Aquarium in Chicago and Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut.


These animals were captured specifically for the Georgia Aquarium et al. Therefore this odious transaction would support the capture and international trade of this highly intelligent and social species. It is not acceptable to subject these animals to being ripped from their podmates and home waters and flown half way around the world in extremely noisy Russian planes. The highly stressful flight from Russia will be nothing less than inhumane and thus violates the marine mammal protection act.

The Georgia Aquarium request is extremely significant and must be denied. There have been no imports of deliberately captured cetaceans for US facilities since 1993. Breaking this precedent would open a floodgate of other imports.

We have the opportunity to stop this abomination. Public comments are being accepted until October 29, 2012.

There is no one-click way to enter this process. You must follow the guidelines to make your voice heard, but it is worth the effort.

Mail: Submit written comments to: Chief, Permits and Conservation Division Office of Protected Resources NOAA Fisheries 1315 East-West Highway, Room 13705 Silver Spring, MD 20910

Fax: (301)713-0376; Attn: Jennifer Skidmore.

Suggested points:

  • Belugas are highly intelligent and social animals with large brains and complex family structures. It is unconscionable to pull these creatures from their podmates and home waters and fly them half way around the world to spend their lives in cement tanks.
  • Belugas in the area from which the captives were taken were subject to intensive hunting until the early 1960s and are still recovering.
  • The rationale for the import request rests on the premise held by the Georgia Aquarium and its partners that the continuation of their captive beluga collection is an important contribution to marine conservation and public education. However, this premise has no basis in fact.
  • The captive beluga breeding program has been unsuccessful, despite five decades of effort by the captive industry to make its beluga collection self-sustaining. The population of captive belugas in the US has declined, from 40 animals in the early 1990s to 35 today.
  • Belugas in the wild can live a maximum of 50-60 years, based on tooth ring analysis. In captivity, they rarely live beyond 30 and frequently do not pass 25.


Please take a few minutes to help these wonderful whales and let the U.S. know that we won't tolerate the cruelty of importing dolphins and whales for captivity. Thank you.

Hardy Jones

We Must Stop this NOW or More Dolphins and Whales Will Suffer the Same Fate

There have been no captures of wild dolphins in US waters since 1993, mainly because of public pressure and opposition.

We are counting on each and every one of you to help us block this import and return these captured belugas to the wild or permanent sanctuary.

It is unimaginable that no consideration is given to the feelings of the Belugas - they're treated as a commodity. Belugas (a species of dolphin often called the canaries of the sea) do not do well in captivity and this is not what we should be teaching our children.

All but two of the belugas were captured recently - 2010 and 2011, and half of them were under the age of three when captured. Five belugas were less than two, indicating they potentially were not even yet weaned from their mothers when they were captured.

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