An animal protection nonprofit headquartered in Darien has filed a lawsuit to stop Mystic Aquarium from importing five beluga whales from a facility in Canada.

Friends of Animals announced Thursday that it has filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Connecticut against the National Marine Fisheries Service, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Last week, the aquarium announced that NOAA had approved a permit application to import the whales from Marineland in Niagara Falls, Ontario. They would join the three currently in the Alaskan Coast exhibit at Mystic Aquarium, which typically sees 800,000 visitors a year.

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