Belugas, particularly females, have high site fidelity – meaning they return to the same areas year after year. This is common in many whale species; the young learn from their mothers the good hunting grounds and safe wintering areas and continue the “family tradition” of visiting the same places. Belugas will return each year to the same estuaries where they were born, even when they are fully mature. While they may not spend the entire year in family groups, individuals check in with relatives and continue their family associations each summer. Not a bad way to spend a summer vacation!
In captivity, belugas are moved between oceanariums as the needs of the “captive stock” dictate – for breeding purposes, to replace one who has died, or to create a bigger attraction. They do not choose when and where they travel, and they certainly do not get to visit with family each year. They don’t even get to choose their social groups; their tankmates and assemblages are decided by those who keep them in captivity.
This week, we’re asking Ford Motor Company to maintain their heritage of family and community by protecting the beluga families of the Arctic. Please join WDC in telling Ford’s Community & Environment department: “Ford Motors: you strive to be sustainable – don’t support Georgia Aquarium’s effort to import wild belugas. Captivity is not sustainable!”
Thank you for protecting beluga families! See you next week for another action alert and beluga fun fact!