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Save The Whales' purpose is to educate children

and adults about marine mammals, their

environment and their preservation. 


U R G E N T -  



OCTOBER 29, 2012

beluga whale


The Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta, Georgia, has requested permission to import 18 wild-caught belugas into the United States for public display. The Georgia Aquarium is partnered with the three SeaWorld facilities, Mystic Aquarium and Shedd Aquarium. The permit states that the import is important to continuation of the captive beluga collection, and an important contribution to marine conservation and public education.

If approved, the belugas would be transported on cargo plans to Belgium 

and then to the U.S. This means multiple transfers between two different shipment containers and two different planes. These transfers are deemed necessary because U.S. transport planes are not allowed to land in Russia, and the Russian planes do not meet U.S. air and noise emission standards. The changes in containers, the long flights and the noise levels, particularly in the Russian planes, would be a known stressor for the belugas and their extremely sensitive hearing.  

These whales have already been captured and taken away from their families by men using ropes and nets.They were caught between 2006 and 2011 in the Sea of Okhutsk off the far eastern coast of Russia.The removal of 30 animals per year from the Sakhalin-Amur population could demolish the mother line if all captures were made from one location as the permit application indicates.  it is unsustainable in addition to being cruel and inhumane.  The permit is requesting permission after capture of the 18 whales or seeking permission for what they have already done. 

Marineland in Canada has 40 belugas in their inadequate facility. The Toronto Star newspaper recently did an exposť on the park, and reported that the animals suffer poor water quality which causes skin damage. Some

whales/dolphins swim with their eyes closed (even blindness has been reported). Former trainers have told about the pattern of neglect that results in animal suffering, and the animals do not receive the necessary care to do well in captivity. It is estimated that more than 40 whales and dolphins have died in their care, 25 of them in the last 15 years

Please help these highly intelligent animals and ask that the permit to move 18 belugas to the U.S. be denied. The commercial trade of marine mammals and wildlife should not be allowed. 
  Send the letter below - and add your own comments - to the Email link, by snail mail or fax.   




October 29, 2012 DEADLINE

Copy and paste objection below for  

Email, Regular Mail or Fax 



RE: Permit Requested to Bring 18 Belugas into U.S. from Russia 


Putting belugas on display is not necessary to conserve them nor to educate people.  Respect for animals is not taught by having wild cetaceans displayed in tanks. No animals need to suffer for the public to be educated; in fact the opposite is true.   

The captive beluga breeding program has not been successful. The U.S. beluga population has declined from 40 animals in the early 1990s to 35 at present. The captive industry wants new animals to avoid inbreeding and an additional decline in its numbers.

Changing containers and airplanes would elevate the belugas' stress hormones and increase their mortality risk.  It is inhumane and violates the Marine Mammal Protection Act. 

The repeated taking of  belugas must be stopped. The capture trade needs to be abolished and the United States should not allow the importation of these animals. 

The Georgia Aquarium and its partners should work with the authorities in Toronto, Canada, to help the animals held at Marineland and move them to the U.S. These animals need help now and U.S. aquariums could provide it.


Please deny the import of these animals into the United States and help to abolish the capture industry.

Thank you



Online: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal and scroll down to  


Mail: Submit written comments to:


Chief, Permits and Conservation Division
Office of Protected Resources
NOAA Fisheries
1315 East-West Highway, Room 13705

Silver Spring, MD 20910


Fax: 301-713-0376; Attn: Jennifer Skidmore


Thank you for helping the belugas ("canaries of the sea").   

M1 signature   

Maris Sidenstecker I 

Executive Director, Save The Whales 

501(c)(3) nonprofit organization  

Save The Whales Great NonProfits

Voted Top-Rated NonProfit 2011 


California Designates 
Pacific Leatherback Turtle  
State Marine Reptile

California has designated the giant Pacific leatherback sea turtle as the state marine reptile.  

This new title for the leatherback will help make the public aware of this amazing species that swims 6,000 miles across the Pacific to feed on its favorite food, the West Coast's abundant jellyfish.  


The California coast is one of the most important feeding areas for this gentle giant, and 16,910 square miles of the state's waters are designated as critical habitat for them under the Endangered Species Act.


Unusual Humpback Whale Sighting Near Nice, France



Oceancare reported an extraordinary sighting of a humpback whale south of Nice, France. They did take photographs but unfortunately didn't get a photo that would identify the animal.  


Humpback whales are identified by the pattern on the underside of their tail fluke.

The photo below by Save The Whales educator, Tom Kieckhefer, demonstrates how these individual markings make identificatiion



A catalog is kept of all identified humpbacks. 



Humpback fluke showing marks
Photo by
Thomas R. Kieckhefer 

Beluga Whales' History
To learn more about the remarkable beluga whales (canaries of the sea), visit our website.


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