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Ga. Aquarium won't appeal after losing battle to import belugas | News

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Ga. Aquarium won't appeal after losing battle to import belugas

ATLANTA (AP) - The Georgia Aquarium has decided not to appeal a federal judge's ruling that effectively prevents it from importing 18 beluga whales from Russia.
U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg ruled in September that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Service properly applied the Marine Mammal Protection Act in denying the aquarium's permit to import the belugas.
The federal agency argued the aquarium's application failed to meet some requirements of the 1972 law. But both a government attorney and one representing several environmental groups argue the aquarium would hurt efforts to protect marine animals.
The aquarium argued that the belugas would thrive at its facility and that bringing the whales to Atlanta will benefit the species. It argued that the courts should have never denied a permit to bring the animals to the U.S. in 2012.
A statement on the aquarium's website Tuesday said it disagrees with the judge's decision but that an extended appeal process wouldn't be in the best interest of the whales.

The battle to acquire the belugas has been going on for quite some time. The whales were found in Russia in 2010; two years later, the Georgia Aquarium filed its first permit to bring the belugas to Atlanta. A court denied the request in 2013