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North Atlantic right whale - Peter Flood

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Vancouver Aquarium display of whales and dolphins to end

After years of opposition from anti-captivity campaigners, the Vancouver Aquarium has finally announced that it will no longer keep whales and dolphins in captivity. Last year, the Vancouver Park Board which runs Stanley Park where the Aquarium is based, voted to stop the aquarium from bringing in any new whales and dolphins in the future. The Aquarium, which currently holds one Pacific white-sided dolphin, opposed the decision but has now agreed that it will end its captivity programme.

WDC Policy Manager, Rob Lott welcomed the decision. “We are delighted to hear that Vancouver Aquarium will no longer display whales and dolphins. This surprising but welcome decision is another nail in the coffin for the captivity industry and comes after a long battle between the Aquarium and the City’s Park Board and animal welfare advocates, like WDC, who successfully argued that public opinion had shifted on the issue of keeping whales and dolphins in tanks.

Four whales and dolphins have died at the aquarium in the last 12 months and the future for Helen, the sole remaining dolphin, is uncertain. WDC is now calling on the Aquarium to assess Helen, together with the reported four belugas Vancouver currently has on loan to other institutions, as potential candidates to be moved to a more natural sea sanctuary environment like the one that WDC is establishing with Melrin Entertainments in Iceland.”

Find out more about WDC’s sanctuary work for beluga whales and support our work.