Monday, September 03, 2012

Is it okay to look the other way and say, "It's not my problem."?

This is a tough post - if you’re not carved out of strong moral fibres you might want to move on to your next RSS feed.

Today I'm here to talk about the CAPTURE and INCARCERATION of CETACEANS (marine mammals), in particular the 18 BELUGA WHALES recently captured and awaiting their fate.

Notice is hereby given that the Georgia Aquarium Inc., 225 Baker Street, Atlanta, GA 30313, has applied in due form for a permit to import eighteen (18) beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) for public display purposes.

These are the words contained on this document, filed August 30, 2012 on the Federal Register website. (To view the complete document just click on the source below.)



* * * * * 
I live on the west coast of Canada - we have phenomenal marine life in our waters and people come from all over the world to enjoy the offerings of the Pacific Ocean. From scuba diving to whale watching one does not have to go far to appreciate marine life in its natural habitat.

We also have an aquarium. (sadly)

Have you been to your local aquarium lately? 

Have you ever asked yourself what it must be like to be cooped up in a tank so small that you, an Orca, cannot swim straight for any length, which you need to do, in order to keep your dorsal fin standing tall and healthy.

Source: The Orca Project 
(the article related to this photo is excellent - Warning: graphic content)



The dorsal fin (the one on the top of an Orca’s back) is meant to stand straight - it bends over when the mammal is confined in a small space. There is no place, in any aquarium, world wide, that can properly house these large mammals. Not one provides the space needed for them to swim freely. (going in circles is NOT swimming freely)


It’s no different for beluga whales - these peaceful creatures are captured and displayed purely for entertainment value and profit.

Do not be fooled into thinking we need them in captivity to research them. That is no longer a viable reason given the technology and times we live in.

The Vancouver Aquarium's Beluga page has a Q & A section...I find this interesting:



So this is what their natural habitat looks like.

And sadly, this is what we give them...

I googled "sad belugas" and saw this photo, above. But what broke my heart was the caption under it, which read:

  "It was a little sad with this big beluga....she was all alone in one simple tank."

The day and age of keeping these majestic creatures penned up for our amusement has long since come and gone.
Now comes the part where I ask you, again...

Is it okay to look the other way and say, "It's not my problem."? 

I encourage you to get involved - and yes, bust out of your comfort zone and see what goes on out there in the wild blue sea, and in captivity - it's never too late to help make a difference.

It's time to take action - 

Please follow this LINK to sign the online petition to end the capture and public display of beluga whales - these amazing mammals need our help.

If signing something online is a problem, which I can truly identify with, then the NOAA  Fisheries page, which features all the information on the 18 beluga whales, as well as the address to send your voice, is where you want to be. 

But, just to make it really easy...here is the address, click on the picture to enlarge. Then, on a postcard or piece of paper you need simply write something like this: I oppose the plans to import beluga whales into the US for captivity by the Georgia Aquarium.


Here are some links for those wishing to do a little further reading:


Change.org (site of the online petition)

NOAA Fisheries Services  
 THIS SITE HAS ALL THE DETAILS ABOUT THIS PERMIT APPLICATION.

Regulations.gov - Your Voice in Federal decision-Making
THIS SITE HAS THE "RECEIPT OF APPLICATION TO IMPORT 18 BELUGAS" DOCUMENT WHERE YOU CAN ACTUALLY COMMENT ELECTRONICALLY. CHECK IT OUT!

Tails Together (concerned friends of the ocean) additional links can be found here.
(Warning: this site contains graphic content)

The Orca Project - a most remarkable site; worth checking out 
(Warning: this site contains graphic content)


Save the Whales - read the story of Tillikum, the orca, that killed his trainer by drowning her. This is a moving and troubling story...but does not contain any graphic photos or images.


THANK YOU - if you follow through by adding your name, in opposition to the permit application by the Georgia Aquarium, I can safely say...YOU ROCK, REALLY YOU DO! 

 Jenny

Need more information? Please let me know and I will do my best to get it to you.

33 comments:

  1. Stuff like this always makes me think of something Jerry Seinfeld used to say about animals in zoos. " Do you think they are lining up saying Take me, take me. I wanna live on damp cement.?"
    I don't know if people will learn.
    I've been to aquariums. That is the only way I see any of these animals. I did not know that about the dorsal fins. I'll check out the petition.

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    1. We don't learn fast enough when it comes to animals/mammals in captivity. Problem is there is value to the research and for some folks this is the only way to see some of these creatures.

      However, at some point we have to see the damage we do to the large animals/mammals we incarcerate in the smallest of cages and tanks.

      If each one of us does just a little bit for the cause, like signing a petition or sharing this post with other it goes a long way to opening up dialogue and that's always a great place to start.

      Thank you so much for dropping by, showing your support for my post and for the possibility of looking further into the petition. Much appreciated, Ruth! You rock! :)

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  2. I admire your dedication and you know what? We should do more, our voice can be heard!

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    1. Yes, our voice can be heard so long as we are willing to act. In signing the petition we are taking the small but important steps toward creating a voice that will make a difference.

      Thanks, Claudia, for stopping by and reading this.

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  3. Thank you for providing those links. I agree completely that it is beyond cruel to keep these beautiful, intelligent animals confined in aquariums under the guise of educating the public.

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    1. I'm going to be featuring the best and worst of aquariums as a regular feature - I've decide it's time to shed light on the good, the bad and the ugly! Stay tuned!

      And, thanks Linda...I know you've been busy with your book launch - CONGRATULATIONS - so you taking the time to drop by here is really appreciated. You are amazing.

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  4. I really like the sentiments of this post Jenny. Honestly you're right, it isn't fair the way animals are treated and leaving them alone in a tiny cage just isn't fair, you're right. That case about the whales annoy me but nobody seems to do anything to fix these kinds of things and it's sad. I understand some animals need protected but it's in their DNA to be free, not to be caged.

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    1. Thanks, Matthew - you really know how to spell it out...the treatment of these mammals is "sad" - really sad.

      I appreciate you taking the time to read this and comment. :)

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  5. I have been posting about these type things on "Whale Wednesdays" too. I live near Orlando where Tillikum is, as well as a family of belugas. This is a cause near and dear to my heart. Thanks for posting and bringing more awareness.

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    1. Hi Heather - I am sorry I have missed your "Whale Wednesdays" - I will pay more attention to my visit dates to your blog.

      Is there a way you could feature them in the sidebar or on the Tab bar...to let us know you are featuring these magnificent creatures in a regular post?

      I would be happy to link to them - and if it's agreeable to you I would love to piggyback on your "Whale Wednesday" theme by doing something like that too. Let me know what you think.

      Cheers, Jenny

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  6. I signed, of course. But then you knew I would.
    There just are no good reasons to keep any animals in captivity anymore. Except for entertainment purposes.
    Although I do admit somewhat shamefacedly that I love aquariums. Not for the bigger critters. Mostly for the small ones so I can see them up close.

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    1. Rev - thanks! (secretly I did make the brave assumption you would - you seem like someone that likes a good and moral cause)

      The "small ones" are a whole different ballpark and worthy of a post...which will be coming along soon. I think there is a place for these smaller and often less mobile ocean inhabitants in aquariums that provide an identical environment as that of where they are taken from.

      In this area our local aquarium does get high marks. I won't go in though because of the display of cetaceans, but that may be changing soon. Let's hope.

      Thanks for your support, Rev - you rock!

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  7. Jenny,

    This is a beautiful, although heartbreaking, post. I had no idea this was going on and I have an aquarium down the street from me. They do not have whales or any other large mammals...I wonder if this is why? They had a shark exhibit for a short time but it was removed.

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    1. Elsie, it sounds like your aquarium is heading in the right direction. There seems to be a movement, albeit small and slow, where these facilities are rethinking their business model.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts - and for your support on this. :)

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    2. I just wanted you to know - your comment today...it made me smile - smile big. Thank you!

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    3. My pleasure, Elsie - I meant what I said! (sent you an email...with more)

      Delete
  8. Thank you for posting about this. I just signed the petition.

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    1. You are welcome - and THANK YOU for signing the petition. Your support and interest in this topic means a lot, to me and the captive cetaceans out there. :)

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  9. what a great post thank you for bringing this to light

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    1. Becca - thanks for stopping by and taking a read - every little bit of interest helps. :)

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  10. I have known about this generally, did not realize it was going on at the moment.

    Zoos and aquariums are complex and difficult ethically. In some cases they are stopping the complete extinction of something or helping them to survive (I'm thinking of the sea otter program at the Monterey Bay Aquarium). In other cases they are capturing wild things to display them. Ugh. Awful, awful, awful. I would wish that they would focus all of their attention on rescue, rehab and release and on breeding programs to prevent extinction. (With release.)

    I have huge problems with doing this to the beluga whales. Huge. I am off to sign the petition.

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    1. Em - you are a trooper. Just back from your whirlwind "train/wedding/train" adventure and here you are showing your support. It means a lot! Hugs.

      I am all for the 3 R's (rescue, rehab and release) when it comes to our ocean friends. And, I'll even include my support of breeding programs where release is supported.

      These 18 belugas will be used for breeding (which means inbreeding) and public display. Shameful...and so sad.

      Thank you so much for signing the petition...each signature speaks volumes.

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    2. Well, as I said, this is very complex. Monterey does a really good thing with sea otters but I don't know much about the rest of what they do. (What I know about marine biology could fit on a pin head and still have room for a dancing angel.) And I think I would be more supportive of zoos and aquariums if they didn't display animals or make money from them. Money seems to complicate things. And does not bring out our better natures.

      If we were truly concerned about endangered creatures, we'd spend more money on protecting habitat and less on capturing and display.

      Thanks for bringing this to my attention, no matter what is going on I have time for something like this. Always.

      I've been a vegetarian for 21 years this November and I did it because of the mistreatment of animals. Some day I'll tell the tale of how that happened, but suffice to say, it's important to me.

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  11. Hi Jenny, thank you for posting this. It's heartbreaking to see these mammals in captivity, what they should be doing instead is rescuing them when in danger or ill and then releasing back to the sea!!
    I am off to signing this petition.

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    1. It's all about the 3 R's (rescue, rehab and release) but somewhere along the line money gets in the way. Which makes all this doubly sad.

      I do think there is hope though, as there is a tread, slowly emerging, where aquariums are no longer replacing the cetaceans they have with new ones when they die. This is a step in the right direction...but a baby one.

      Joanna, thank you for stopping by and for signing this petition...it is greatly appreciated. :)

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  12. Hi Jenny - I need to come back to this ... I must read it properly - essentially I agree with you, as I'm sure nothing should be contained, restrained ... and yes, they do live in groups - much like elephants .. theoretically as we do!

    Cheers for now .. Hilary

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Hilary.

      Yes, this is one of those posts that has lots of tentacles and requires a little extra reading (hence the great links) in order to fully appreciate the plight of captured and incarcerated cetaceans.

      And, you are so right, "nothing should be contained or restrained", particularly for our amusement.

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  13. Thank-you so much for posting this Mum. I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. Mermaid hugs!

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    1. We're on the same page with this one. The plight of these belugas deserves as much attention as possible.
      Thanks for stopping by and taking a look - I know you've already signed the petition! :)

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  14. Thank you for posting this, I had no idea about the Beluga Whales. Thanks also for all the links (and warning for graphic content!). The Georgia Aquarium is the closest aquarium to where I live.
    I was glad to sign :)

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    1. Hi Daisy. Welcome to Pearson Report.

      Thank you for checking out this post and for signing the petition. It's shocking that one aquarium would need eighteen more beluga whales, particularly when they already have four. Keeping these beautiful, peaceful cetaceans for our amusement is so wrong.

      I appreciate your visit and interest - please drop by again. :)

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  15. Thanks for sharing this Jenny, I think you rock! I have been troubled by this issue since learning more about whales and dolphins, and I no longer agree with aquariums, marine parks, etc. I am glad to sign the link and hope this will help, thanks again.

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    1. Your interest in this post is greatly appreciated, Julie. It am pleased to read you will be signing the petition - every signature matters.

      Thank so much for dropping by. :)

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Thanks for dropping by and sharing your thoughts.

I'd give you a penny for them, but alas we just snuffed it out. Yup...gone!
It's all about the nickel now...so at this rate you can leave 5 thoughts!

Cheers, Jenny

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