The Georgia Aquarium has applied for a permit to import 18 wild-caught beluga whales from Russia as part of an initiative to breed them for exhibition at aquariums and marine parks across the country. Beluga whales are sensitive marine mammals with complex physical and psychological needs. Shipping them like cargo across the world only to confine them to an aquarium for the rest of their lives is cruel and unjustifiable. Because importing these animals is such a controversial move, there is a public comment period for the next 60 days, and we need your voice to make sure that the whales stay put!

People are captivated by beluga whales, but when confined to aquariums, these fascinating marine mammals continue to live in misery long after visitors return home with their pictures and memories. Most captive whales die prematurely and live to only half the age of their wild brothers and sisters. In the wild, whales swim together with their families for miles a day. They navigate by bouncing sonar waves off objects to determine location and distance. In captivity, their ocean worlds are reduced to claustrophobic swimming pools, and they suffer in frustration as they are forced to swim in endless circles, their natural instincts thwarted by the small tanks.

Breeding programs for beluga whales have been unsuccessful despite more than 50 years of trying. We need to stop this, not subject more animals to lives of misery in captivity and a premature death. Transporting 18 wild-caught beluga whales from Russia to the United States would be a painful and noisy experience for the animals, and it would put their health and well-being at risk.

Please contact the National Marine Fisheries Service here and let officials know why they should deny the Georgia Aquarium a permit to import more than a dozen beluga whales. Suggested text is below. These intelligent animals deserve more than to be torn away from their home and families and treated as moneymaking breeding machines.

Suggested subject line: Please Do Not Approve Georgia Aquarium’s Permit

Suggested e-mail text: I am writing to ask that you deny the Georgia Aquarium a permit to import 18 wild-caught beluga whales from Russia for captive breeding and exhibition at marine parks and aquariums. Beluga breeding programs in the United States have been largely unsuccessful, and there is no compelling evidence that these programs create interest in, educate visitors on, or change people’s attitudes about conservation. Beluga whales have distinct personalities and form strong familial bonds, and when confined to aquarium tanks, their natural instincts are thwarted. Instead of swimming for miles a day with their families, these complex and intelligent animals are reduced to swimming in endless circles in barren tanks and performing silly stunts for aquarium patrons.

Aquariums are a stifling environment for beluga whales compared to the vast open ocean. Captive whales live half as long as their counterparts in the wild. Please give these animals a chance at a normal, fulfilling life by refusing to allow the Georgia Aquarium to import them for breeding purposes—which have proved to be unsuccessful in a stressful captive atmosphere. These unique animals deserve much more than to be treated as moneymaking commodities.

Thank you for your consideration.

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Article source: PETA Action Alerts

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