Georgia Aquarium officials say the National Marine Fisheries Service has denied its application to import beluga whales from Russia. In a statement Tuesday, Georgia Aquarium spokeswoman Meghann Gibbons said aquarium officials were deeply disappointed in the decision.
The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta has applied for a permit to bring 18 beluga whales into the country. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the whales would be housed in aquariums and zoological parks around the country. The application is part of a three-year, multimillion-dollar conservation program meant to improve the genetic diversity of belugas in captivity in the U.S.
Two South African penguins have been hatched at the world's largest aquarium. The Georgia Aquarium announced Thursday that the two chicks were born in January. Aquarium officials said the endangered animals were kept secret until now because they are fragile when they're born.