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We need whale poo 📷 WDC NA

Whales are our climate allies – meet the scientists busy proving it

At Whale and Dolphin Conservation, we're working hard to bring whales and the ocean into...
Minke whale © Ursula Tscherter - ORES

The whale trappers are back with their cruel experiment

Anyone walking past my window might have heard my groan of disbelief at the news...
Boto © Fernando Trujillo

Meet the legendary pink river dolphins

Botos don't look or live like other dolphins. Flamingo-pink all over with super-skinny snouts and...
Risso's dolphin entangled in fishing line and plastic bags - Andrew Sutton

The ocean is awash with plastic – can we ever clean it up?

You've seen pictures of plastic litter accumulating on beaches or marine wildlife swimming through floating...
Fin whale

Is this the beginning of the end for whaling off Iceland?

I'm feeling cautiously optimistic after Iceland's Fisheries Minister Svandís Svavarsdóttir wrote that there is little...
Mykines Lighthouse, Faroe Islands

Understanding whale and dolphin hunts in the Faroe Islands – why change is not easy

Most people in my home country of the Faroe Islands would like to see an...

Dolphin scientists look like you and me – citizen science in action

Our amazing volunteers have looked out for dolphins from the shores of Scotland more than...
Atlantic white-sided dolphins

The Faroes dolphin slaughter that sparked an outcry now brings hope

Since the slaughter of at least 1,423 Atlantic white-sided dolphins at Skálafjørður in my home...

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!