February 28, 2014
Here at Georgia Aquarium, we strive to inspire our guests each and every day to make personal choices which support animal conservation. It is our obligation to create an important link between people and nature, and we take that obligation very seriously. Many of our guests would never know or care about many of the extraordinary species in our care were if not for the opportunity to see, learn and care about them at Georgia Aquarium.
We are gratified to be able to tell the story of our beluga whales and the challenges they face globally through our Beluga Conservation Program and Caring Together campaign. With fewer than 35 belugas in accredited aquariums in North America, the population of animals in human care is facing certain extinction. Within a few decades, according to experts, the public will lose touch with these magnificent creatures. We recognize the immense body of knowledge and educational opportunities that the study of these animals can provide, and we aim to inspire the public to conserve and protect the species through our efforts.
We’re extremely honored when one of our guests shares with us their personal connection they experienced with one of our animals, solidifying our mission of education and conservation.
Below is fan Kristie-Lynn's moving story, titled “I Have A Dream,” of her first time interacting with our belugas during a Beluga and Friends Interaction Program. She submitted her story to us through the Share Your Moments section on our Caring Together site:
I Have A Dream:
Last summer I was given the opportunity to participate in the popular beluga whale encounter at Georgia Aquarium. As I stepped into the frigid waters, my heart began to pound. I was about to be introduced to a two and a half ton whale. As Grayson swam towards us, I noticed my cheeks began to ache, and it was because I was smiling so much. I remember reaching my hand out to touch this magnificent creature, and upon contact I experienced the deepest feeling of happiness. It was surreal. Through this experience, you are directly exposed to the conservation efforts of the aquarium and it gives you hope for the future of many species at the Georgia Aquarium. The whole experience: to touch, feel, and observe beluga whales up close is awe-inspiring. The love and dedication from the trainers and staff at the aquarium makes you want to participate in the conservation efforts. I recommend to anyone who is considering the beluga encounter experience to go for it. You will not be disappointed.
We encourage you to share your personal moment of an experience you had with one of our animals, just as Kristie-Lynn has. Every story you share, petition you sign, or letter you send, know you are helping further the sustainability of belugas globally by supporting our Beluga Conservation Project. This program is critical to educate people about the need to protect belugas in the wild; conduct non-invasive study and observation to help conserve the species; and help sustain a healthy population of beluga whales in human care.
Together, we can make a difference for belugas. Show us how you care by visiting www.CaringTogetherforBelugas.org today.