US judge rules aquarium may not import belugas from Russia

Beluga Whales in the wild. Earlier this week a federal judge upheld the decision by the National Marine Fisheries Service to block the Georgia Aquarium from importing 18 captured beluga whales from Russia.

This is a win for whales and conservation.

The Aquarium claimed that importing the whales would help promote education and conservation of the animals. However, they failed to prove how the removal of the whales from the wild was sustainable, and how the permit would not increase future collections of belugas for public display.

IFAW was one of the participants in the amicus (or "friends of the court") brief filed for this case.

We’re thrilled to know that this decision will apply to protect marine mammals from this and future harmful activities and promote the health and stability of the marine environment. It reinforces the critical concept that wild animals need to stay in the wild.


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Azzedine Downes,IFAW President and CEO
President and Chief Executive Officer
Beth Allgood, US Country Director
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Cynthia Milburn, Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
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Dr. Joseph Okori
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Jason Bell, Vice President for Conservation and Animal Welfare
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Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
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