February 15, 2014 3:45 am
Updated: February 15, 2014 7:23 pm

Critics worry Vancouver Aquarium expansion will bring more whales, dophins into captivity


The Vancouver  Aquarium is renovating  into a larger facility by 2020. The exact details of the renovation are not known, but the plan includes an expansion to the dolphin habitat, which has critics worried that more whales and dolphins will be kept in captivity.

Since 2001, there have been no killer whales at the facility. The last orca there was Bjossa, who became very sick and was shipped to Sea World in San Diego. She died at the age of 25.

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The Vancouver Aquarium declined to join a discussion on Unfiltered with Jill Krop on Friday night, but they said in a statement there are no current plans to have more dolphins and whales.

“The Vancouver Aquarium is a non-profit society dedicated to the conservation of aquatic life. There are no current plans to increase the number of cetaceans at the Vancouver Aquarium,” the statement said.

However, the Georgia Straight reported that more whales are coming to the aquarium, a rumour that has critics concerned and demanding a consultation process.

“Way back in 1995 when David Chesman was the chairman of the park board, he was asked by the Vancouver Aquarium for more Stanley Park land to build bigger whale pools. He said that he would never approve it until the public had a say,” said Annelise Sorg, president of No Whales in Captivity and an animal rights activist.

Marine Biologist Alexandra Morton said whales belong in the wild with their families.

“A lot of people have done a lot of work with these animals in the wild and noticed that the most important thing to them is their family. It’s really all they’ve got out there. It’s enormous. It is their whole lives,” she said.

There are currently two beluga whales and two dolphins at the Vancouver Aquarium, and Morton would like to see them back in their natural habitat.

“Having the whales and dolphins in the city where people can just casually go and see them, it’s a type of arrogance and it’s a type of enslavement that I think we need to get over,” she said.

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