NOAA Stops Importation of Belugas into States
The American National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration(NOAA) has foiled an attempt to bring 18 captive beluga whales into the USA to be exhibits at amusement parks. According to Sea ShepherdSociety, the federal regulatory agency requested and received 9 000 comments on the proposed importation and 76 000 signatures opposing the proposal.
If permitted, the whales would have been brought to the US by the Georgia Aquarium located in Atlanta. From there they would have been distributed to SeaWorlds in Florida, Texas and California as well as the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.
The source of the white, Arctic based whales was off the Russian Arctic in the Sea of Okhotsk between 2006 and 2011. They have been moved to the Black Sea except for two that were transported to Japan and held at Taiji, better known as The Cove. If they remain there, it is likely that these intelligent animals will witness the gruesome slaughter of the dolphins.
Last century many aquaria sought to acquire sea mammals to add to their displays. They branched into teaching dolphins and whales tricks for food rewards. Some managed to keep their marine mammals alive longer than others, but all suffered in the tight confines. As we learned more about these animals, we could not escape the fact that they are sentient and live in tight family groups and are unsuited to living in solitude in small spaces. The progressive aquaria have phased out the capture and display of marine mammals. Unfortunately, there are still facilities that buy dolphins and whales for public entertainment.
The final decision was based on several reasons, one of which was the dearth of knowledge of beluga whales in the Arctic. Another stated reason was that the approval of the permit would encourage the capture and sale of more belugas.
Beluga whales are white all over as befits their Arctic homeland. They are sometimes referred to as the Canaries of the Arctic because of their musical vocalizations.
Thinking of attending a dolphin show? Maybe swimming with the dolphins? How about watching a whale show? Then you need to read the following. They say it better than I ever could.
“It’s not difficult to connect the dots between the bloody slaughter and the international trade in whales and dolphins for the captive/entertainment industry,” said Susan Hartland, Administrative Director, Sea Shepherd USA. “When you buy a ticket to a marine park or swim-with-dolphin experience, the hard truth is you are contributing to the horrific suffering and abbreviated lives of these highly intelligent, social creatures.” Sea Shepherd Society