I discovered this weekend that the Georgia Aquarium has applied for a permit to obtain and import 18 wild beluga whales. These whales have already been caught in Russia and now the captivity industry simply needs to get them into the United States in order to start making money off their lives. The Georgia Aquarium has a great deal of interest in this especially since the death of a baby beluga whale at their facility only days after it was born. The issue that is creating the need to import these wild animals is genetic diversity. The captivity world is running out of breeding options and therefore must create bogus and false statements in order to apply for import permits. One such reason they give surrounds conservation. Conservation? Seriously? Taking wild animals out of the ocean and placing them into an entertainment park is supposed to enhance conservation? I cannot believe the captivity industry thinks people are going to buy that line. If it was conservation they wanted then instead of spending $2 million to research how to bring wild animals into the US, they would spend that money on protecting the wild populations and our oceans.
The other reason they claim to need these wild animals is for research. The research angle always makes me laugh because there is no true and significant research that can be conducted on a captive marine mammal. In captivity these animals cannot eat, swim, play, socialize, or even just exist naturally. It is shameful to even put themselves into a category with true scientists that study animals in their natural habitats.
Since word of this permit application got out the GA has been trying to convince their fans and the public that what’s being said isn’t true and they are basically victims in this. So, here is what I have to say about that.
Georgia Aquarium, the accusations against you are not inaccurate or false. It is simple. The GA has acquired wild belugas from Russia and wants to import them into the United States. It does not matter who took them from the ocean first. These were wild animals and you have decided to purchase them as if they are property to be bought and sold as pleased. There will be no true research done on them at a captive facility, including yours. Captive animals do swim, eat, socialize, or behave like a true wild animals. They swim in artificial water, eat dead fish that are filled with medicines to help with the ailments related to the stress captivity causes, they do not have a natural family group to socialize with and they cannot ever swim the distances like those of their wild counterparts. Your facility is using these animals for profits and entertainment. I do not care if you attempt to hide behind a 501c3 status. If it was education you were truly interested in you would not charge the astronomical amount of $169.95 per adult, senior, or child to interact with belugas. Please do not attempt to fool those of us who know exactly what the captivity industry is all about. One day everyone will see all of you for what your really are and it is then that marine mammal captivity will become another dark spot on human history.
Please take a minute to sign this petition to help these belugas.
Thanks for reading!