URGENT! 18 Beluga Whales in a holding pen in the Black Sea waiting for a lifetime of slavery in Atlanta's Georgia Aquarium in the United States.

Only about 150,000 beluga whales survive in the wild, where they’re considered “near threatened.” They’ve yet to fully recover from whaling, and may still suffer from climate change and Arctic development. Yet recently, in the U.S, the Georgia Aquarium has made plans to import 18 beluga whales captured off the coast of Russia that are being kept in a holding pen. They are currently being held in the Black Sea.

If the U.S. government approves the plan, it will mark the first time in nearly two decades that wild-caught cetaceans have been imported into an aquarium in the United States. If the permit is approved, the aquarium will transport these wild-caught whales 6,000 miles, first to Belgium and then across the Atlantic, causing the animals tremendous stress.

This would mean that the whales, who are highly sensitive to noise and handling, would be forced to endure the roaring engines of cargo planes for hours on end. On top of that, the 1- to 1.5-ton animals would be transferred from one container to another -- and then one plane to another -- during their grueling journey’s layover in Belgium. It’s too much for these aquatic mammals, and it will be extremely stressful.

Controversy is continuing to brew over the Georgia Aquarium’s plan to import 18 beluga whales captured off the coast of Russia. Critics say the lifespan of aquarium animals is a key test of well-being: If captivity isn’t harmful, then they should live as long or even longer than in the wild, as do confinement-friendly fish and small mammals. The numbers on cetaceans are not encouraging. On average, orcas and possibly bottlenose dolphins have shorter lives in captivity than in the wild.

Courtney Vail of the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, raises the question: "Why don’t captive belugas, which are unthreatened by predation, pollution and hunting, and receive round-the-clock attention, live longer? For all the arguments about veterinary care and restaurant-quality fish, they’re not living any longer. After over 50 years of keeping belugas in captivity, we still don’t have a self-sustaining population.” According to Vail the short lives are a symptom of beluga unhappiness in captivity.

The National Marine Fisheries Service will will hold a public meeting on the beluga proposal on Friday, Oct. 12 in Silver Spring Maryland. Public comment will also be accepted online until Oct. 29. Please take a minute to leave a comment and also to sign the petitions against bringing the 18 beluga whales to the Georgia aquarium.

Petitions related to this article:

NO Permit for 18 Beluga Whales in Captivity

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Responses to "Help stop 18 Beluga whales in the Black Sea from being shipped to an Aquarium in the U.S. (Petitions)"

  1. Anonymous says:

    The belugas should be returned to the wild where they belong. The Shedd Aquarium in Chicago already has belugas. More should not be removed from the wild.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Only captive born should be kept in a zoo. No wild animal should be taken from its land and put in a zoo, how ridiculous! Leave the wild ones wild.

  3. we should not put a free living creature of wide ocean in captivity.let them live freely.

  4. Anonymous says:

    please let them go, and release them back where they belong. it's barbaric cruelty to trap & hold wild animals in small cages or small pools JUST TO MAKE MONEY.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Please please let them go. All animals deserve their freedom as do we. It's barbaric to trap them and cause these beautiful creatures so much stress and for what !!??? LET THEM GO PLEASE ! they deserve to live their life wild and free its where they belong. we will continue to fight for their freedom.

  6. sandra houghton hall says:

    Its absolutely ridiculous to send these poor animals on this journey,and I would think that its enough to kill them before they get to the end of it.Good God leave them alone and let them live in peace where they belong,not locked up in a water tank.

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