Vancouver Park Board officially agreed on the bylaw amendment of banning cetaceans in Vancouver Aquarium. There will be no more rescued cetaceans in the future to be displayed in the Aquarium after the board’s decision last May 15, 2017. The bylaw was voted unanimously. Furthermore, the three cetaceans which currently live in the aquarium will stay but will be banned for performance.
The park board considered three choices:
- To restrict all cetaceans and setting date for compliance. Thus, removing three resident cetaceans out of Stanley Park.
- Grant the three cetaceans but prohibit its recreational display
- Permit current cetaceans in recreational center but prohibit its performance
Although the decision has agreed, the aquarium will still investigate all alternatives to plunge the park commissioners’ “inhumane choice” according to aquarium CEO John Nightingale. He said that the ban will close down the program of captivating harmed cetaceans ending up euthanizing them as they can’t be kept and be brought to the aquarium. He believed that the bylaw isn’t about creature conservation but a system belief and politics instead.
On the other hand, protesters against captivating cetaceans believed that the decision of the park board is right. They agreed that whales and dolphins should not be put in tanks alone to do tricks to people. And that they must be with their family and home which is not in the aquarium.
The death of Qila and Aurora lead to the debate of captivating cetaceans in Vancouver Aquarium. Earlier before the bylaw officially announced the voting, the aquarium CEO John Nightingale said that the aquarium will fight til the end in order to preserve its Marine Mammal Rescue Program.
Last November 2016, two sheltered Belugas in the aquarium died. The two animals are long time residents in the aquarium for about two decades. Qila was the first to develop symptoms of stomach cramping and loss of appetite.
Despite specialists’ extra care from around the globe, Qila died on November 16th. And after few days, Qila’s mother Aurora, experience the same illness and died 9 days after. After five months of investigating possible cause, it was concluded that an unknown toxin killed the Belugas. After a month of deaths, the Aquarium took effect to preventing risks that could bring a toxin to their home.
Currently, the aquarium houses three cetaceans. Daisy – a harbor porpoise, Helen – a white-sided dolphin and Chester – a false killer whale. The three are still allowed to remain at the aquarium but future whales, dolphins or porpoises in city parks are at “no exemptions”. And are prohibited to be part of the show.