The decision comes following the Aquarium’s announcement to bring in new belugas for use in research and public display, to be phased out by 2029. Following the decision, the Board has instructed staff at the Aquarium to investigate how best to implement the amendment by May 2017. The debate as to whether to keep cetaceans in captivity in Canada was reignited three months ago, after the deaths of the last two beluga whales at the Aquarium – Aurora and Qila.
A ban on keeping captive cetaceans in Canada has been supported by many, including twenty marine mammal biologists from around the world who have signed a letter in support of the introduction of Bill S-203, which has been proposed by former Senator Wilfred Moore to end the captivity of cetaceans in Canada.
In the letter, twenty biologists state that the captivity of cetaceans cannot be justified in the face of the growing body of scientific knowledge about the biological needs of cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) , which shows that adaptation to captivity is extremely unlikely.
Dolphinaria-Free Europe (DFE) is very pleased to hear about the historic decision that was made last night by the Vancouver Park Board. Captivity causes grievous harm to such intelligent and socially-complex creatures like cetaceans. Essentially, it’s like living in a bathtub. This is why DFE fully supports the proposed ban in the altogether keeping of cetaceans in captivity in Canada. Here in Europe, DFE is working to phase out the keeping of cetaceans in captivity across Europe. In 2015, we created a science statement, signed by 21 marine mammal biologists, testifying that Odontocetes (toothed whales, dolphins and porpoises) in captivity simply cannot, and are not, thriving in zoos and aquariums.