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