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- October 4, 2001

The Shedd Aquarium in Chicago recently announced that one of its beluga whales is pregnant. This aquarium has proved repeatedly that captivity is a death sentence for whales and dolphins.

Since 1988, four Pacific white-sided dolphins and five beluga whales have died, including two newborn beluga whale calves and a newborn dolphin calf who plunged to the bottom of the tank and died moments after his birth.

Dolphins and beluga whales can live 30 to 50 years in the wild but survive poorly in captivity. Captivity-induced stress weakens their immune systems, causing the animals to succumb to pneumonia, ulcers, and other illnesses. Captive whales and dolphins often die prematurely and at higher frequencies than in the wild.

In their natural habitat, Pacific white-sided dolphins speed through the ocean at 30 miles per hour, breaching gracefully toward the sun and even spinning and somersaulting in midair. Beluga whales dive 3,500 feet to rub their bellies on the ocean floor, instinctively migrate through vast arctic regions, and join in a complex and beautiful symphony of vocalizations with their pod that has earned them the nickname "sea canary."

The whales and dolphins who survive at the Shedd Aquarium perform circus tricks for food and swim endless circles in desolate, concrete tanks.

Please ask the mayor of Chicago to ban the breeding and importation of whales and dolphins within city limits.

The Honorable Richard M. Daley
Mayor of Chicago
121 N. LaSalle St., Rm. 507
Chicago, IL 60602
Fax: 312-744-2324