Skip to content
All articles
  • All articles
  • About whales & dolphins
  • Create healthy seas
  • End captivity
  • Green Whale
  • Prevent deaths in nets
  • Scottish Dolphin Centre
  • Stop whaling
A dolphin called Arnie with a shell

Dolphins catch fish using giant shell tools

In Shark Bay, Australia, two groups of dolphins have figured out how to use tools...
Common dolphins at surface

Did you know that dolphins have unique personalities?

We all have personalities, and between the work Christmas party and your family get-together, perhaps...
Leaping harbour porpoise

The power of harbour porpoise poo

We know we need to save the whale to save the world. Now we are...
Holly. Image: Miray Campbell

Meet Holly, she’s an incredible orca leader

Let me tell you the story of an awe-inspiring orca with a fascinating family story...
Humpback whale. Image: Christopher Swann

A story about whales and humans

As well as working for WDC, I write books for young people. Stories; about the...
Risso's dolphin at surface

My lucky number – 13 years studying amazing Risso’s dolphins

Everything we learn about the Risso's dolphins off the coast of Scotland amazes us and...
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...

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!