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Dead sperm whale in The Wash, East Anglia, England. © CSIP-ZSL.

What have dead whales ever done for us?

When dead whales wash up on dry land they provide a vital food source for...
Risso's dolphin © Andy Knight

We’re getting to know Risso’s dolphins in Scotland so we can protect them

Citizen scientists in Scotland are helping us better understand Risso's dolphins by sending us their...
Pilot whales pooing © Christopher Swann

Talking crap and carcasses to protect our planet

We know we need to save the whale to save the world because they are...
Fin whales are targeted by Icelandic whalers

Speaking truth to power – my week giving whales a voice

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting is where governments come together to make decisions about whaling...

Why do whales and dolphins strand on beaches?

People often ask me 'why' whales and dolphins do one thing or another.  I'm a...
A spinner dolphin leaping © Andrew Sutton/Eco2

Head in a spin – my incredible spinner dolphin encounter

Sri Lanka is home to at least 30 species of whales and dolphins, from the...
Sperm whale (physeter macrocephalus) Gulf of California. The tail of a sperm whale.

To protect whales, we must stop ignoring the high seas

Almost two-thirds of the ocean, or 95% of the habitable space on Earth, are sloshing...
WDC team at UN Ocean conference

Give the ocean a chance – our message from the UN Ocean Conference

I'm looking out over the River Tejo in Lisbon, Portugal, reflecting on the astounding resilience...

Tanks Too Small to Swim

Belugas are considered slowpokes in the world of whales and dolphins (if I lived in freezing Arctic waters, I’d probably want to conserve my energy, too) but they would medal in any diving competition.  Belugas regularly make 1,000ft (305m) foraging dives, and can dive 2,300ft (700m) or more.  The maximum recorded depth for a beluga is 2,860ft (872m).  In comparison, their fellow (and much larger) deep-diver, the sperm whale, averages 1,300ft (396m) on a typical dive, though they too are capable of dives much greater.

Aquarium tanks aren’t even close to this depth.  For captive orca tanks, the law requires, based on an assumed average length of 24 feet, that pools be at least 12 feet deep and 48 feet in diameter.  For smaller belugas, assuming an average length of 14 feet, the tank dimensions shrink to 28 feet across and only 7 feet deep – that’s barely enough room to swim, let alone dive!  These tanks often have several individuals living inside them, and with the ever-rotating cast of captive whales and dolphins, it is always possible that a larger whale may join the “collection” – but the tanks will not be changed.

This week, we’re asking UPS, a global company that works in multiple countries, to protect the rights of belugas to dive anywhere.  UPS has numerous humanitarian and sustainability projects and should include protecting belugas in the wild in their efforts.  Tell them: “UPS, extend your high environmental standards to your sponsorships – don’t sponsor the Georgia Aquarium and their effort to import wild Russian belugas! Captivity is never sustainable!

Thank you for helping WDC keep belugas safe and free to dive anywhere they please!