Early on Saturday morning, June 20, 2015, SeaWorld San Antonio excitedly announced the birth of a new beluga calf. Though the calf was born a month premature, SeaWorld touted her health, and—about 12 hours later—both mother and baby were placed on public display.
Three weeks later, the calf was dead.
Martha was captured in the wild, taken from her ocean home in 1988 near Manitoba, Canada, where wild belugas travel into Hudson Bay and river estuaries to give birth. She was shipped to SeaWorld’s San Antonio abusement park, where she arrived on July 17, 1988. Martha has been repeatedly impregnated at SeaWorld as part of the company’s sordid captive beluga–breeding program.
Of the five calves Martha has given birth to at SeaWorld, four are dead and the fifth was taken from her and shipped to multiple locations around the country.
In June 2007, Martha gave birth to a male calf named Grayson, who was shipped to the Georgia Aquarium in 2010 and moved cross-country again to Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium in 2016. Grayson’s father was a beluga named Nanuq, who, like his son, was also moved around for breeding purposes—a practice that is undoubtedly stressful. After sustaining a jaw injury from another animal, possibly as the result of being placed with an incompatible tankmate, Nanuq died of an infection while at SeaWorld Orlando in Florida.
think of the life nanuq endured
stolen from an arctic home& sent by the vancouver aquarium to die in a seaworld tank pic.twitter.com/k3G4nbyBzD
— earthling (@candymaptones) March 21, 2016
Help us put an end to this cruelty.
They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. SeaWorld has repeatedly bred animals, with disastrous results. As the many deaths and injuries demonstrate, captive beluga–breeding programs are clearly not humane. It’s time that SeaWorld and all other marine parks and aquariums accepted that intelligent, social animals like Martha don’t belong in tiny, chemically treated swimming pools.
— Sen. Wilfred Moore (@SenWillyMoore) April 14, 2016
Join the thousands of people calling on SeaWorld to release the long-suffering orcas, belugas, and bottlenose dolphins it holds captive to coastal sanctuaries, where the animals could experience some semblance of the natural lives that they’ve been denied for so long. The National Aquarium’s decision to move all eight dolphins at its facility to a seaside sanctuary has already been met with overwhelming public support.