Petition to block whale import gathers steam


BANGKOK,  – More than 10,000 people have signed an online petition against the planned import of six beluga whales from Russia for display at a Bangkok zoo. The campaign is demanding the Fisheries Department ban the import order.

Coordinator of the Love Wildlife Foundation, Jirayu Ekkul, which initiated the signature campaign, said he had heard that a private zoo in Bangkok had sought permission from the department to import Beluga whales.

The department has been slated to decide whether to grant import permission to the zoo operator last Wednesday.

Jirayu said his group would submit the petition to fisheries chief Wimol Jantrarotai ) ahead of the meeting, asking him to reject the request. The group will also submit scientific reports about the impact of keeping the marine mammals in captivity.

The beluga is a protected species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora’s appendix II, which allows international trade of the species under close supervision.

It is estimated there are about 150,000 belugas living in the wild and 200 in zoos worldwide.