EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

World/National News

October 7, 2012

SeaWorld, others trying to import whales caught in wild


Records show that research was paid for by SeaWorld and the Georgia Aquarium, along with three other marine-park owners: Ocean Park Corp. of Hong Kong; Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, Conn.; and Kamogawa Sea World of Japan.

NOAA must also decide whether both the capture and transport of the whales was or will be “humane.”

According to Georgia Aquarium’s application, the 18 beluga whales were captured by having two 45-foot-long boats known as “baidars” surround the animals with a net while up to a dozen smaller boats circled around the perimeter watching for entanglements. Once the net was closed, one of the baidars beached itself and the collection team then pulled the net to shore by hand.

Of the 18 whales, two were captured in 2006, 11 were captured in 2010 and five were captured last year. All are currently being held at the Utrish Marine Mammal Research Station on the Russian coast of the Black Sea.

Georgia Aquarium currently has four beluga whales in its collection, according to the permit application. SeaWorld has 17 belugas spread across its three namesake parks, including four in the “Wild Arctic” attraction at SeaWorld Orlando, where the park also sells “beluga interaction” packages that begin at $119 a person.


Activists accuse the Georgia Aquarium and SeaWorld of ignoring other alternatives, such as acquiring belugas already in captivity.

For example, there are nearly 40 beluga whales at Marineland in Niagara Falls, Ontario. But SeaWorld has a fractious relationship with that facility; the two sides just went through a nasty court battle after Marineland refused to return a killer whale that SeaWorld had sent it through a breeding-loan agreement (in which SeaWorld received four beluga whales).

In its application, the Georgia Aquarium states that it had “numerous discussions” with Marineland about acquiring some of its belugas, but the result was “an incompatible relationship, both financially and philosophically.”

“Just because SeaWorld and Georgia Aquarium might not be able to get along with (Marineland owner) John Holer and Marineland,” said Vail, of the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, “that doesn’t justify them going directly to the wild.”


(c)2012 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.)

Visit The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.) at www.OrlandoSentinel.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
World/National News

Latest U.S. News
Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Obama Asks Central American Leaders for Help Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Obama Advisor Skips House Hearing Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Dempsey: Putin May Light Fire and Lose Control In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites Anti-violence Advocate Killed, but Not Silenced. Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine
Latest World News
12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Today in History for July 26th Raw: Palestinians and Israeli Soldiers Clash Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Today in History for July 25th Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 U.N. School in Gaza Hit by Israeli Strike Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: UN School Used As Shelter Hit by Tank Shell Raw: Gunmen Attack Iraqi Prison Convoy
Photos of the Week