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U.S.-based animal protection group hoping to create whale retirement sanctuary in Nova Scotia

In this Nov. 26, 2006, file photo, SeaWorld Adventure Park trainer Ken Peters, left, looks to an orca during a performance at Shamu Stadium inside the theme park in San Diego. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Bizuayehu Tesfaye, File

A U.S.-based animal protection group is touring coastal Nova Scotia communities in hopes of finding one interested in becoming a retirement home for whales and dolphins raised in captivity.

The Whale Sanctuary Project says it is holding public information meetings in Dartmouth, Liverpool, Port Hawkesbury, Sherbrooke and Sheet Harbour to identify a possible seaside sanctuary for beluga whales freed from entertainment parks.

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The group’s executive director, Charles Vinick, says the selected community could see jobs and economic benefits with the creation of an education centre and the need to purchase tons of frozen fish to feed the whales.

The organization says it is looking for a 40-hectare area along the Atlantic shore of Nova Scotia “that can become a home to whales who are retired from entertainment facilities or are injured and need rehabilitation within a netted-off area.”

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The group estimates it would cost about $20 million to create the sanctuary, along with costs with the long-term care of the animals.

It would be one of only a few such sanctuaries in the world for the marine mammals.

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