Wednesday, November 6, 2013

US Aquarium Fights for Russian Belugas in Court

A US aquarium denied permission to import 18 Russian Beluga whales has launched a legal battle to overturn the decision by US federal authorities, an environmental policy website reported this week. In August, the US National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) rejected the aquarium’s application to import the whales, citing concerns that five of the animals may have been nursing when they were captured in Russia’s Sea of Okhotsk between 2006 and 2011. The whales are currently stranded in limbo at the Utrish Marine Mammal Research Station in Russia and have become something of a cause célèbre among US environmental activists. Oscar-winning actress Kim Basinger in August wrote a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin urging him to release the whales from captivity and return them to her ocean home.

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