A Day in the life of the Captive Beluga Whale

Most people are not as familiar with the beluga whale as they are with dolphins or orcas.  What people will recognize when they see video of beluga whales is their intelligence, their awareness.

I thought I would gather a collection of beluga videos so that people could have a sense of what life is like for a beluga whale in captivity.

First, we demean them by using them as props for our shenanigans, whether it is a wedding reception, a cheesy wedding proposal, a corporate banquet, a Christmas or Pride party, or backdrop for a mariachi band.

And here are a few moments with a beluga identified as Juno. He is not happy, he is exhibiting aggressive behavior. This is, apparently, no surprise to the aquarium worker, who laughs it off to the visitor. That, my friend, is despicable. They know the whale is unhappy, and the nervous laughter tells it all.

Or here at SeaWorld San Diego, Ferdinand and Nanuq are exploited for touches and kisses. I heard some whale education: saltwater is apparently not good for belugas, according the SeaWorld expert. And it is apparently critical that we understand that belugas feel like a hard-boiled egg.

And then there are parents who don’t recognize when an animal is being teased.


Beluga whales do not belong in tanks.

The Georgia Aquarium is spearheading a dramatic reversal of U.S. practice and policy to import 18 wild-caught Russian beluga whales into the United States to add to the current captive population of 34.  Whales that were part of stable families and community groups until they were wrenched apart and taken into captivity.  And for what?  Mariachi bands, weddings, jazz evenings, kisses, phone teases? Which appear to be typical days, as good as it gets in a day in the life of a captive beluga whale.

Sign the petition to say no to this effort at importation of wild-caught beluga whales.  And stay tuned:  soon the import permit application will be published in the Federal Register for public comment.

Don’t support any more days like these.

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