18 Whales to be Imported to the US?

Written by on September 26, 2012 in Marine Life, Policy & Ocean Law
Mother and baby Beluga whale in the Arctic. Photo credit: NOAA.

Mother and baby Beluga whale in the Arctic. Photo credit: NOAA.

The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS) is launching a campaign to stop the Georgia Aquarium in the U.S. from importing 18 wild-caught beluga whales.

The whales were caught in the Sea of Okhotsk, Russia, where belugas are still recovering from hunting that occurred until the 1960s.

Getting the whales to the U.S. would involve several transfers to and from different planes and shipment containers, which would cause serious and potentially life-threatening stress.

WDCS believes that importing these whales is extremely inhumane and could even be in violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

In the wild, belugas can live up to 60 years, but in captivity they rarely reach 30.  In addition, the captive-breeding program for belugas has been unsuccessful over the past five decades, so claims that the Georgia Aquarium needs the whales to maintain the breeding population are most likely not true.

You can read the full statement from the WDCS, and/or send an e-protest letter to the Georgia Aquarium, here: Campaign launched to stop US import of 18 whales.

Beluga Whales in Chukchi. Photo credit: Laura Morse, NOAA.

Beluga Whales in Chukchi. Photo credit: Laura Morse, NOAA.

Beluga Whale in the Churchill River near Hudson Bay, Canada. Photo Credit: Ansgar Walk.

Beluga Whale in the Churchill River near Hudson Bay, Canada. Photo Credit: Ansgar Walk.

Copyright © 2012 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of MarineScienceToday.com. She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .

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