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Fate of cetaceans at Vancouver Aquarium to be decided tonight

Last Updated May 15, 2017 at 10:25 am PST

Summary

Meeting to decide whether whales, dolphins should be allowed to be kept in captivity at Vancouver Aquarium

Aquarium staff feel potential ban will hamper their rescue efforts

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The future of whales and dolphins at the Vancouver Aquarium hangs in the balance tonight with the Vancouver Park Board set to vote on whether to approve a ban keeping cetaceans at the popular Stanley Park attraction.

The ban would exempt three cetaceans currently at the facility, but no others could be brought in. Park Board Chair Michael Wiebe says other marine parks have made this move, and he feels it’s time for the local facility to follow suit.

“Even the aquarium understands that it’s time to move on from cetaceans,” argues Wiebe. “There’s enough research and studies. They wanted to do it in 10 years, we just think there’s no point spending the $25 million-plus to build new tanks to bring in belugas for 10 years.”

Staff members at the aquarium feel like the ban would ultimately hinder their marine mammal rescue efforts. “In our view, every animal counts,” explains Aquarium President and CEO John Nightingale. “It would be kind of like going to your doctor and the doctor saying, ‘We don’t treat people like you.’ Who cares about that most? You do. Who cares about being rescued most? The animal being rescued.”

A recent poll conducted by Angus Reid, commissioned by the aquarium, claims there is overwhelming public support for the rescue efforts made by the facility.

At about the same time the Park Board is set to meet this evening, the aquarium is holding an event called The Rally for Rescue which takes place at Ceperley Playground at Second Beach starting at 6:30 p.m.