In response to concerns raised by members of the public over the Vancouver Aquarium’s planned expansion, the Aquarium has released an open letter outlining its policies regarding cetaceans, a portion of which appears below. The full letter can be found here.
“We are a leader in managing our cetacean populations, which includes our belugas and Pacific white-sided dolphins. On September 16, 1996, Vancouver Aquarium took a leadership role and became the first (and only) aquarium in the world to make a commitment to no longer capture cetaceans (whales and dolphins) from the wild for display and to only care for:
–Cetaceans that were captured before 1996
–Cetaceans that were already being kept in a zoo or aquarium before 1996
–Cetaceans that were born in a zoo or aquarium
–Cetaceans that were rescued from the wild and rehabilitated, but deemed non-releasable by the appropriate government authorities
“We do not and will not capture wild cetaceans for display. The last dolphin collected for the Aquarium was in 1971 and the last cetacean of any kind was collected in 1990 when our beluga whale, Aurora, joined us. Our responsible breeding program, managed in partnership with accredited institutions in North America, enables us to maintain a population of marine mammals at the Aquarium that continues to contribute to vital public engagement and interpretation. And, we serve as a long-term home for rescued cetaceans that cannot be returned to the wild due to their injuries or inability to survive on their own.”