One Ocean, One Mission
Mystic Aquarium’s interdisciplinary and highly collaborative model
Mystic Aquarium employs strategies with a vision of a robust, modern aquarium deeply rooted in values and blossoming with measurable impact in protecting ocean environments through an integrated approach to research, education and conservation.
Our values run deep throughout our culture. They reflect our 40 plus year heritage and our shared desire to create a better more sustainable world that protects aquatic animals, assures the survival of threatened species and calls for action infused with comprehensive compassion and respect. Mystic Aquarium has an extensive cross-disciplinary competency in experientially learning locally and globally.
Research Permit to Bring Beluga Whales to Mystic Aquarium Filed
Sea Research Foundation submitted a research permit request to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Marine Fisheries Service, to import five beluga whales born under human care from Marineland Canada. Sea Research Foundation is a center for global research in beluga whales with a core team of five full-time scientists studying belugas within a larger, world renowned marine science research program. We operate a state-of-the-art facility at the University of Connecticut-Avery Point, where our scientists all hold faculty appointments, dedicated to non-invasive beluga research that continues to be essential to the advancement of knowledge and conservation.
Beluga studies at Sea Research Foundation advance knowledge of immune responses (i.e., to infections, toxins, and other stressors), indicators of health (i.e., general and reproduction and behavior), hearing and sound issues, diving physiology, and non-invasive study techniques. Our overall understanding of beluga whales helps the conservation of endangered beluga populations such as those in Cook Inlet, Alaska and the Saint Lawrence Estuary, as well as declining populations elsewhere. Sea Research Foundation’s research is key to advancements in recovery and sustainability plans that are supported by indigenous community members, scientists, wildlife managers and others.
Ten Reasons Why a Research Permit to Bring Beluga Whales to Mystic Aquarium from MarineLand is Good for Whales and Cetaceans
- A larger grouping of belugas in the Mystic habitat will advance knowledge more quickly on key variables essential to the survival of the species – including reproductive systems and behavior, stress response, and immune system capabilities.
- Advancing knowledge on key issues impacting survival of belugas will inform international marine mammal protection policies.
- The Mystic habitat is designed and extensively equipped and certified for beluga research; it is a hub for beluga scientists and conservationists, providing unique accessibility to study belugas in ways not possible in wild settings.
- Advancing research on beluga whales is essential to preventing declines in endangered beluga populations similar to those that have occurred with vaquita and northern right whale populations, and will also contribute meaningful information to the conservation efforts for these species.
- Major advancements in ground-truthing new technologies and testing equipment for wild population research will become possible with a larger cohort of animals in the Mystic habitat.
- Mystic Aquarium’s outdoor beluga habitat, with its large, naturalistic features and highest standard of water quality provides a safe and healthy environment for the animals.
- Mystic Aquarium is home to the world’s leading marine mammal scientists, animal behaviorists, and veterinarians who provide continuous and compassionate care for belugas.
- Moving five captive born belugas to Mystic provides for a spacious environment for these whales to thrive.
- Research permits for moving captive born marine mammals are explicitly provided for by United States and Canadian law because this work advances knowledge on helping wild populations survive.
- 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 a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization with a mission to inspire others to care for and protect the ocean planet through conservation, education and research.