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Bye bye, belugas: Marineland exports 2 whales before new laws take hold

Two beluga whales at Marineland in Niagara Falls, Ont., will be shipped to an aquarium in Spain as a bill to ban the export of marine mammals nears federal law, the Canadian Press reported.

The Vancouver Aquarium owns the whales, and operates Oceanografic, where the whales are headed.

Marineland has applied for permits to send five more belugas to the United States, but hasn't said where.

Marineland said the animals are being moved to make room for new whales due to be born this year and in 2020, and that the relocations are unrelated to a bill that would ban the import and export of dolphins and whales, except for scientific research or rescue.

The bill would also ban marine mammal captivity, and breeding. Similar laws are being considered in the United States. A grandfather clause would allow Marineland to maintain its current collection, which includes 50 belugas.

Marineland has fought the bill, saying it would have to separate whale families to prevent breeding.

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