Park Board decides to ban Vancouver Aquarium from breeding cetaceans

Dec 19 2017, 7:29 pm

The Vancouver Park Board has permitted the program to keep dolphins and whales at the Vancouver Aquarium to continue, but it has unanimously voted to approve a bylaw that ends the institution’s ability to breed dolphins and whales.

The Park Board commissioners did allow for a small caveat in the breeding bylaw, that captive cetacean breeding could be permitted if it is a threatened species.

It is not known how exactly natural mating will be controlled.


In addition to the ban on breeding, an oversight committee of animal welfare experts will be created to monitor the safety of the institution’s whales and dolphins. The committee will prepare a bi-annual report to the Park Board on the status and well-being of all cetaceans owned by the non-profit organization.

All of this comes after last week’s release of the findings of a Park Board ordered report by scientists and veterinarians at the University of California, which concluded research, rescue and conservation efforts are dependent on the Aquarium’s dolphins and whales.

Vancouver Aquarium CEO and President John Nightingale said the debate over the last few months has cost the marine science centre a lot of time and resources that would have otherwise been spent on its real mandate of research, conservation and rescue efforts.

He believes that Aquarium has always been transparent about its operations, including the temporary relocation of its dolphins and whales to other North American facilities in anticipation of the construction to come for the new expanded tanks.

While its ability to keep dolphins and whales was not terminated, this will still require a major shift in what the Aquarium does. It will require a few weeks to come up with a response and plan to the Park Board’s new policy.

However, Nightingale said it takes scientific expertise away from the Aquarium’s scientists and veterinarians.









Featured Image: Vancouver Aquarium

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