Your Help Is Needed to Stop Import of 18 Wild Belugas by Georgia Aquarium.
On June 15, 2012 Georgia Aquarium applied for a permit to import 18 belugas who were captured from the Sea of Okhotsk, Russia, specifically for the Aquarium and its partners. They are slated to become part of Georgia Aquarium's breeding "inventory," with some distributed to partner aquariums, including Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, IL, and SeaWorld facilities in Orlando, FL, San Antonio, TX, and San Diego, CA.
The Marine Mammal Protection Act prohibits activities that result in unnecessary risk to the health and welfare of marine mammals. This import is both unnecessary and poses substantial risk to the health and welfare of these animals and the groups from which they were taken.
As for the beluga population from which these animals have been taken, it is still recovering from years of hunting; the removal of such a large number of animals from the same area may result in the disruption of social groups and the loss of important genetic material and learned behaviors passed down through generations.
You can read more on the campaign to stop the capture and import at the Animal Welfare Institute website.