The Capturing of Beluga Whales from the Artic

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When the name Beluga whale comes up, many think of the popular children’s song, “Baby Beluga”; however, many do not know much past that. Beluga whales, along with many whale species, are regarded anywhere from near threatened to critically endangered depending on their location. The debate now is whether Beluga whales should be able to be taken out of their natural environment and put into aquariums around the United States. Although a few years ago the capturing of wild Belugas has been turned down by the federal government, it is now being reevaluated and may be accepted. Due to the reasoning that this has already been denied and because Beluga whales are close to becoming endangered, they should not be captured and put into aquariums for the enjoyment and studying by humans. The debate on the removal of Beluga whales from the wild into captivity has been going on for a span of three years. It began with the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, who applied for a federal import permit in late 2011 (Barringer). Their ultimate goal was to buy eighteen Beluga whales from Russia. Their plan was to not only apply for only themselves, but to also apply for the other marine parks and aquariums that would house the Belugas (Barringer). The federal government had to base their decision not on personal beliefs, but on the laws already in place by the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 (Barringer). This act prohibits taking marine mammals in U.S. waters, as well as importing marine mammals and marine mammal products into the U.S, with certain exceptions (NOAA Fisheries). Although the act is clearly stated, there are definitely ways around it. This is one of the many aspects that made the debate continue longer, up until the Obama administration r... ... middle of paper ... ...ity, which is against the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, being the reason it was denied back in 2011. Works Cited Barringer, Felicity. "Opposition as Aquarium Seeks Import of Whales." The New York Times. The New York Times, 09 Oct. 2012. Web. 20 Feb. 2014. "Beluga Whale (Delphinapterus Leucas) - Office of Protected Resources - NOAA Fisheries. “Beluga Whale (Delphinapterus Leucas) - Office of Protected Resources - NOAA Fisheries. N.p., 13 May 2013. Web. 20 Feb. 2014. "Beluga Whale." National Geographic. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Feb. 2014. "Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA).”:: NOAA Fisheries. N.p., 14 June 2013. Web. 18 Feb. 2014. McLendon, Russell. "Why Can't Russian Belugas Move to Atlanta?" MNN. N.p., 7 Aug. 2013. Web. 20 Feb. 2014. Rothenberg, David. "Serenading Belugas in the White Sea." Orion Magazine. N.p., Jan.-Feb. 2008. Web. 20 Feb. 2014.

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