May 26, 2014 8:14 pm
Updated: May 26, 2014 8:17 pm

Dr. Jane Goodall writes letter urging aquarium to phase out belugas, dolphins in captivity

Two young girls watch as Tiqa the two-year old beluga whale swims at the Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park, Tuesday, August 3, 2010. The Vancouver Aquarium is defending itself after the city's mayor expressed his personal beliefs against whales and dolphins in captivity. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward


Dr. Jane Goodall has written a letter to the Vancouver Park Board, urging the Vancouver Aquarium to phase out keeping marine animals in captivity.

The letter, dated May 13, says the aquarium was a leader in 1996 when it stopped allowing the keeping of cetaceans such as belugas, dolphins and porpoises caught from the wild. However, the aquarium has continued an on-site breeding program and has loaned belugas to SeaWorld, a practice Goodall says is “no longer defensible by science.”

She says there are high mortality rates in the breeding programs and when the animals are used as entertainment.

Goodall calls on the Vancouver Aquarium to phase out the programs and become “a leader in compassionate conservation on this issue.”

City council voted in April against a Green Party motion to put the future of the aquarium’s captive animal program on the ballot.

There have also been several demonstrations at Vancouver Park Board meetings by animal rights activists, calling for the end of the captivity programs at the aquarium.

Goodall’s full letter is included below:

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