BREAKING: Park Board Votes to End Cetacean Captivity at Vancouver Aquarium

March 10, 2017: A storm has been brewing in British Columbia, Canada’s most westerly province – and along with it, the winds have change have finally come. Last evening at a special meeting, the Vancouver Park Board in a unanimous decision, voted to amend its bylaws to end the display of live cetaceans at the Vancouver Aquarium.

The meeting was held to discuss various options regarding the keeping of cetaceans in captivity. After two long nights, it became apparent that this outdated and unethical model was no longer justifiable.

If there is going to be a change, now is the time to do it.” ~ Commissioner  Sarah Kirby-Yung
*Source: CBC News, British Columbia

The aquarium has been under increasing public pressure to end its captive dolphin and whale displays. Across the country in Niagara Falls, Canada’s only other aquarium, Marineland, has seen its share of resistance. With numerous protests over the years – many of which Dolphin Project has attended – along with a multitude of charges, the future clearly doesn’t include captive cetacean displays.

The Vancouver Aquarium currently houses three cetaceans: a Pacific white-sided dolphin, a false killer whale and a harbor porpoise. Their last remaining beluga whales, Aurora and her calf, Qila, both died last November of mysterious causes.

Simply put, there is no captive environment large enough, enriching enough or diverse enough to compare to the native habitat of dolphins and other whales.” ~ Ric O’Barry, Founder/Director of Dolphin Project

The board will now instruct staff to investigate and report back on how best to implement the amendment by May, 2017.

Dolphin Project commends our local colleagues for their outstanding work in educating on the horrors of cetacean captivity. Collectively we need to keep the pressure on and ensure the Vancouver Aquarium, as well as other facilities which keep dolphins and other whales put an end to this cruel and obsolete practice.


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Featured image:  Pacific white-sided dolphin, Vancouver Aquarium, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license, Yummifruitbat

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About Cara Sands

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It might be true that we don't recall many moments from our early years. However, Cara's first memory of a dolphin had her begging her parents to ask the trainer to let the dolphin go! The problem with captivity was evident to her, even as a 4 year-old child.

A writer by trade, Cara has researched, investigated and documented dolphins suffering in captivity. From documenting dolphins incarcerated in buildings, cut-off from fresh air, sunlight and normal socialization to researching cases of animals imprisoned in solitary confinement, Cara is a dedicated dolphin welfare advocate.

It is her belief that education equals empowerment. The more information shared, the better our choices and knowledge of how to act as a positive and respectful voice for dolphins across the world.

Cara is based out of Canada and makes time whenever possible to observe dolphins in their natural environments. She is writing her first fiction novel but knowing her, the marine world will play a prominent role in her book!

"The use of animals for entertainment is nothing more than an abuse of dominance. Some of the most sentient species on the planet have been exploited to incomprehensible levels, all due to their inherent benevolence. Ironic, considering that we turn to the abused themselves for displays of humanity."
~ Cara Sands

Author: Cara Sands


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