Vancouver Aquarium to no longer house whales, dolphins

Follows a Park Board ban in May

The Vancouver Aquarium will no longer be housing cetaceans at its Stanley Park facility, the organization announced Thursday.

The move comes on the heels of the Vancouver Park Board’s decision to ban cetaceans in May 2017.

The aquarium went to court to fight the Park Board’s decision in June.

“Having significantly contributed to tens of millions of people caring about whales and dolphins over the past four decades, Vancouver Aquarium will now focus on raising awareness of ocean issues impacting other marine animals and will no longer display cetaceans at its facility, with the exception of doing what is best for Pacific white-sided dolphin Helen and any need to use the Aquarium for the temporary accommodation of a rescued cetacean,” said Vancouver Aquarium CEO Dr. John Nightingale.

The aquarium has only one cetacean remaining; a Pacific white-sided dolphin named Helen.

Helen, who is in her early 30s, was rescued when she got tangled up in a fishing net in Japan.

“After many years in professional care and with only partial flippers, Helen is not a candidate for release,” said Nightingale. “However, dolphins are a social species so finding companionship for her is paramount.”

Two belugas, Qila and Aurora, died just nine days apart in November 2016.

PETA executive vice president Tracy Reiman said that “the Vancouver Aquarium has finally yielded to the sea change of public opinion and agreed not to sentence any more cetaceans to a miserable life and a premature death in a cramped tank.”

More to come.


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katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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