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, Country Director, United States
Country Director, United States
Cynthia Milburn, Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
Senior Advisor, Policy Development
Faye Cuevas, Esq.
Senior Vice President
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
Jason Bell, Vice President for Conservation and Animal Welfare
Vice President for Conservation and Animal Welfare
Jimmiel Mandima at IFAW
Deputy Vice President of Conservation
Executive Vice President
Executive Vice President
Matt Collis, Director, International Policy
Director, International Policy
Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
Program Director, Marine Conservation
Rikkert Reijnen, Program Director, Wildlife Crime
Program Director, Wildlife Crime