Target: Georgia Aquarium
Goal: Halt plans to import 18 wild-caught beluga whales 6,000 miles from Russia and rescue belugas from substandard conditions at Marineland of Canada instead.
While aquariums may give children and adults alike the chance to witness marine wildlife in person, the educational experience for humans often comes at the cost of animal suffering. The world’s largest aquarium–Atlanta’s Georgia Aquarium–is currently seeking a permit to import 18 wild-caught beluga whales from their native Russia all the way to the United States. The 6,000-mile journey from Russia to Belgium and then across the Atlantic in cargo planes would cause undue amounts of stress and suffering for these sensitive creatures.
Highly intelligent and sociable, beluga whales are among the most beloved forms of marine wildlife. But their developed brains and capacity for echolocation also make them extremely sensitive to noise and close captivity. Packing these 18 whales into portable containers and then hauling them onto cargo planes would be an incredibly stressful experience as they are forced to endure hours upon hours of close captivity next to roaring jet engines.
What’s more, the Georgia Aquarium doesn’t need to look all the way to Russia to find whales in need of a home. Marineland of Canada, an aquarium notorious for poor treatment of its marine wildlife, currently houses 40 beluga whales in its tanks. Unlike Russia’s wild-caught belugas, these whales are desperately in need of proper living conditions where they can enjoy adequate tank space and veterinary care. Tell the Georgia Aquarium not to cause undue suffering to Russian wild-caught belugas and instead negotiate an agreement with Marineland of Canada to rehome their mistreated whales.
Dear Georgia Aquarium officials,
Every day, your aquarium gives children and adults the magnificent opportunity to view a wide variety of beautiful marine wildlife in person. Your aquarium has an excellent reputation for caring for marine animals–which is why I was shocked to learn of your plans to import 18 wild-caught beluga whales 6,000 miles from Russia.
Transporting these intelligent and beautiful creatures overseas in cargo planes will only serve to cause them undue suffering. With their highly developed melons, belugas are extremely sensitive to noise. Storing them in shipping containers next to the incessant roar of jet engines will surely place the animals under extreme stress. Marine animals deserve better than to be hauled as cargo halfway across the world, especially when beluga whales are in need of good homes closer to home in Canada.
Marineland of Canada is currently home to 40 beluga whales enduring substandard care and inadequate living space. Transporting these whales to Georgia would be a much less expensive undertaking, not to mention much less stressful for the whales themselves. I ask that you abandon plans to import beluga whales from Russia and seek to rehome Marineland’s mistreated whales instead.
[Your Name Here]