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Mystic Aquarium applied for a permit from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to bring five beluga whales that were born in human care from MarineLand Canada to our world-class Arctic Coast habitat in Connecticut.

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Mystic Aquarium’s facility is the largest outdoor beluga whale habitat in the United States.

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These beluga whales were born into human care and would not survive in the wild.



Mystic Aquarium is asking to import these whales for extensive conservation research purposes.

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Mystic Aquarium is conducting non-invasive research to protect this potentially endangered species.

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Mystic Aquarium meets requirements for importing beluga whales.

Why Mystic?

Mystic Aquarium is a better home for these five beluga whales than their current home at MarineLand Canada.

The five belugas are being cared for, monitored, and studied as part of the Aquarium’s program to understand how best to support and protect beluga populations in the wild. The Aquarium works every day to support conservation, science and education programs to help ensure a positive future for marine mammals and the health of our oceans.

Caring for belugas in our facility enables us to learn and apply new findings to research and conservation efforts that ultimately help us maintain the health of wild animal populations. A larger grouping of beluga whales at Mystic Aquarium help advance our knowledge more quickly.


The whales that Mystic is asking to import were born in human care and would not survive in the wild. Mystic’s state-of-the-art facility is the best option for the well-being of the whales.

The welfare of marine mammals in our care and in the wild is of the utmost importance to Mystic Aquarium. Our team of animal care experts is making efforts to better understand the viability of sea pen sanctuaries, which have not been proven to provide adequate care and safety for beluga whales. What we do know is that our Arctic Coast outdoor habitat is monitored daily by animal care professionals, environmental quality technicians and scientists, and provides an ideal environment where belugas thrive.


Mystic seeks to import these whales for conservation research purposes. Advancing research on beluga whales is essential to help protect depleted wild populations across the globe.

While there will be incidental display of the beluga whales, that, too, is science-based. Mystic Aquarium is in a unique position to provide daily information to visitors on voluntary behaviors that significantly impact the veterinary health of these animals and conservation of the species overall.


In order to protect potentially endangered species such as beluga whales, it is essential that facilities like Mystic Aquarium can conduct non-invasive research and observe whales in human care.

Mystic’s ethical approach is the absolute best solution for the individual animals that will otherwise live in a crowded pool or, hypothetically be released in the future to a ‘sea sanctuary’ that not only does not yet exist but is unproven and risky. At Mystic, whales benefit immediately and help advance knowledge for survival of the species and other cetaceans that are threatened or endangered.


Mystic Aquarium is accredited by the American Humane Association, the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums, and the International Marine Mammal Trainers’ Association. Our accreditations ensure that we meet and exceed the highest animal care standards and guidelines in the world to provide significant contributions to education, conservation, rescue and research.

We continuously meet the USDA’s criteria for animal and habitat care through both regular and unannounced inspections by the agency.

Mystic’s permit application meets the Marine Mammal Commission’s requirements for importing beluga whales for research purposes; it should be approved.