A new relationship with animals, nature and each other.

Questions for the Georgia Aquarium and the NMFS

Barnum & Belugas

The captivity industry’s assault on the world’s cutest whales.

Believing in Belugas
From ancient mythology to modern reality.

How the Beluga Business Began
When P.T. Barnum first put belugas on show.

My Life with the Belugas
A former trainer at SeaWorld talks about what it’s like for belugas in captivity.

Smart, Chatty and Chirpy – and That’s Their Problem
A neuroscientist talks about the brains and smarts of belugas.

Visiting with Belugas in the Wild
A scientist meets some solitary dolphins who want to make friends with tourists. That’s not a good idea!

The Legal and Moral Issues
If the Georgia Aquarium gains the permit it seeks, it will open the door to a flood of captures from the wild.

What You Can Do

Contact Information for the Georgia Aquarium.

Questions for the Georgia Aquarium and the NMFS.

Notes and Talking Points for letters, e-mails, phone calls and general discussion


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These are questions that can be posed to the Georgia Aquarium about their capture of 18 beluga whales for import into the United States:

  •  To what do the Georgia Aquarium and its partners ascribe the comparable survivorship and longevity between captive and wild belugas? That is, what kills captive belugas as effectively as natural causes of mortality?


  • Is there video of the captures in 2006, 2010, and 2011? If not, why not? If they were humane, video evidence is a reasonable expectation given modern technology.


  • The transfer in Liège is complicated and additionally stressful to the animals for inadequate reasons (which are purely logistical and possibly political, rather than biological or medical). The NMFS asked for an estimate of how long the animals would be at the airport undergoing this transfer from one set of containers to others and one plane to another; the Georgia Aquarium was non-responsive. In fact, how long does the aquarium estimate the animals will be at Liège Airport? If it is not possible to estimate how long it will take to perform these multiple transfers, why not, given the expertise of the transport team?


  • Given the developments at Marineland in Canada since the Toronto Star exposé, why are the Georgia Aquarium and its partners not working with Ontario authorities to rescue the 40 belugas held at this inadequate facility?


  • The permit application claimed that no mother-calf pairs were targeted, yet several of the animals listed in the application were taken when they were approximately 1.5 years of age. At this age, the animals would still be dependent on their mothers. How were mother-calf pairs identified in the field?