"Although we firmly disagree with the Judge's ruling, after much consideration we have chosen not to appeal the decision," the aquarium said in a statement. "Extending the appeal process would only add to an already lengthy series of legal proceedings, and we believe our decision is in the best interest of the beluga whales residing in Russia."
The announcement brings an end to the years-long import saga, one that that would help clarify U.S. policy on wild imports. But it's also a huge win for animals around the world, as the decision signifies growing distaste with the practice of wild capture.
While several countries, including the U.S., have banned or restricted the taking of wild animals in their waters, Russia, Japan and possibly China remain strongholds of wild capture, including of orcas. With the U.S. apparently determined not to be a customer, the industry is that much closer to collapsing.
Of course, there's still a lot more work to be done for whales and other marine animals around the world. To help with protection efforts, you can make a donation to Whale And Dolphin Conservation (WDC).