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Beluga whales are affectionately known as sea canaries for their song-like vocalizations, and their name is the Russian word for "white."

They are sociable animals that live, hunt, and migrate together in pods, ranging from a few individuals to hundreds of whales. However, they are naturally reticent to interact with humans, although some solitary belugas are known to approach boats.

Once such beluga that's believed to live in Norwegian waters is so comfortable among humans that it played fetch with a rugby ball.

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The 2013 documentary "Blackfish" shined a light on the cruelty that orcas face in captivity and created a sea change in the public's perception of SeaWorld and other marine life parks.

This "Blackfish" backlash nearly deep-sixed SeaWorld and led Canada to pass a law that bans oceanariums from breeding whales and dolphins or holding them in captivity. Animals currently being held in Canada's marine parks are allowed to remain as well as those taken in for rehabilitation.

Podcaster and MMA announcer Joe Rogan saluted Canada's decision on a recent episode.

"First of all, what assholes are we that we have those goddman things in captivity? A big fucking shout out to Canada because Canada, mostly probably through the noise that my friend Phil Demers has created in trying to get MarineLand shut down, Canada has banned all dolphin and all whale captivity. It's amazing. I hope the United States does it well, I hope it goes worldwide," Rogan told his guest, economist and mathematician Eric Weinstein.

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In a historic win for cetaceans and animal-rights activists, Canada is banning the practice of keeping whales, dolphins, and porpoises in captivity.

Remember the scene in Free Willy when the Orca who had been living in an amusement park finally leapt into the wide open ocean and the whole audience cheered? Well, that iconic scene is taking on new significance in Canada this week, as the nation's House of Commons just passed a bill making it illegal to keep dolphins, whales, and porpoises in captivity for breeding or entertainment purposes.

Bill S-203, or The Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act (known colloquially as the "Free Willy Act") means anyone found capturing the animals, holding them captive, or procuring their embryos or sperm, can be fined up to $200,000.

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You can't breed orca whales in California anymore.

On Sept. 13, 2016, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill into law that'll make it illegal to breed orca whales in California. It'll also majorly rewrite what captivity itself means for the whales.

The law comes into effect next June, and it'll change things in a big way. Places like SeaWorld, for instance, won't be able to breed orcas at all anymore nor use them for entertainment or performances.

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