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Potential beluga ban at Vancouver Aquarium on Park Board agenda

(Courtesy Vancouver Aquarium)
Summary

Push to have the issue on the ballot during next year's civic election

Two beluga whales died at the Aquarium late last year

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – We could find out tonight whether the future of whales and dolphins at the Vancouver Aquarium will become a city election issue and whether it could be placed into the hands of voters.

At this evening’s Vancouver Park Board meeting, commissioners will debate whether to push the city to include a plebiscite during the 2018 civic election. “There are no orcas at the aquarium. There are no belugas — there is no lonely dolphin that needs a friend,” explains Annalise Sorg from the advocacy group No Whales in Captivity. “We’re really hopeful that the timing is finally right.”

The motion is being brought forward by Commissioner Sarah Kirby-Yung who is also calling on the popular Stanley Park attraction to “consider not bringing cetaceans into the facility until after the results of the 2018 plebiscite are received.”

Sorg says time and time again polls show Vancouver residents want the Aquarium to end the practice of holding whales and cetaceans in captivity. She points to the closure of the Vancouver Zoo back in 1997 as a perfect example of that. “Vancouver is a very green city that way and if way back then people voted against the public zoo, I think they will vote ‘no’ against having whales in captivity in Stanley Park.”

The last two belugas at the aquarium, Qila and Aurora — a mother and daughter duo, died just nine days apart back in November.