Now look at the situation at the Georgia Aquarium. Maris, the 20-year-old mother, was born at the New York Aquarium, where she was housed with other belugas who were stolen from their wild families. Her mother, Natasha, was taken from her family when she was only four years old. So Maris never had the benefit of a mother who could pass on important cultural information to her about how to raise a child.
Still barely out of childhood, Maris has been transported five times in and out of different facilities. At the Georgia Aquarium she was forced into a situation that left her little choice than to mate with a male, Beethoven, who was chosen not by her, but by the staff. (Beethoven is now on "breeding loan" to Shedd Aquarium in Chicago).
For Maris, there was no autonomy, no continuity, and no opportunity to develop within a natural social and physical environment. She and her two infants were all born into an entirely unnatural world, one to which they are not adapted. One need only see the photographs of the infant beluga surrounded by several humans in wet suits. The Georgia Aquarium describes these scenes as being in the "arms of caregivers". Although intentions might be good, the presence of humans is not a condition to which infant beluga whales are adapted, and it's doubtful that either the baby or her mother experienced these human intrusions as the warm and comforting interactions the aquarium claims they were.