“This marine mammal is commonly referred to simply as the beluga or sea canary due to its high-pitched ‘twitter’.” (wikipedia).
Or in this case, the ‘Twitter‘ that has surged around 18 healthy wild belugas who were caught in Russia for captivity in amusement parks in the U.S. First in line to import the whales is the Georgia Aquarium, who plans to then share them with SeaWorld, the Shedd Aquarium, and Mystic Sea Aquarium.
Former SeaWorld trainer Samantha Berg is planning to “live tweet” the public hearing on the import permit today (12 Oct 2012). The permit application would allow the import of wild belugas for the first time in decades (please see the NY Times article “Opposition as Aquarium Seeks Import of Whales“).
The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) allows for the removal from the wild or importation of marine mammals for the purpose of public display.
The Georgia Aquarium submitted an application for an MMPA permit on June 15, 2012. This application (File No. 17324) requests authorization to import 18 beluga whales from the Utrish Marine Mammal Research Station in Russia to the United States for the purpose of public display. These animals were previously captured from the Russian Sea of Okhotsk.
The animals would be imported and legally held by the Georgia Aquarium. Some of the animals would be transported to other U.S. partner facilities under breeding loan agreements. These facilities include Sea World of Florida, Sea World of Texas, Sea World of California, and Shedd Aquarium.
All Tweets will tag SeaWorld and the GA Aquarium and also include the hashtag #noGAqbelugas. The event goes from 2pm-5pm EDT (11 am-2pm Pacific time).
This will be at the end of her tweets: @seaworld @GeorgiaAquarium #NoGAqBelugas.
For those of you new to Twitter/Tweeting/Twitterverse here’s why this is being done:
The hashtag (the # sign) makes all tweets from the hearing or about the hearing searchable so people who want to know what’s going on with this issue can just search for that hashtag. Also, there are sites that show how hashtags are trending (google #NoGAqbelugas and see what comes up).
By tagging SW and GA Aquarium in all posts, they will see the effect this attempted import is having on public perceptions of marine parks/aquariums.