No new cetaceans at Vancouver Aquarium

No new cetaceans at Vancouver Aquarium

No new cetaceans at Vancouver Aquarium

However, he says any future whales, dolphins or porpoises that are deemed unreleasable would be banned.

Under the ban, cetaceans that already live at the Aquarium will be allowed to stay, but no new whales, dolphins, or porpoises - rescue or otherwise - would be permitted on Park Board land.

Just three cetaceans remain at the aquarium: a false killer whale, a harbour porpoise and a Pacific white-sided dolphin. The aquarium can not bring in any other cetacean for public display or performance.

Speaking with Jon McComb on Tuesday, Aquarium President and CEO John Nightingale says the facility is still looking at the repercussions of the board's new by-law. Roughly 300 protesters, the vast majority of them supporting the aquarium, pushed onto the lawns around the park board office, carrying signs and chanting for three hours.

"That part was fantastic and heartwarming and I just can't imagine having stood there for two-and-a-half hours in that rain last night only to be disappointed by local politics", he told CTV News on Tuesday.

"It's not only can you do this, but should you do this", she said. "We had a full gallery of people that were here (Monday) and we've seen this throughout the process".

Meantime, Vancouver City Councillor and former Park Board Commissioner Melissa De Genova says she respects the board's "independent" decision.

Wiebe and fellow commissioner Catherine Evans both spoke Monday about the backlash they've received, something Evans referred to ahead of casting her vote as "fearmongering".

"I am not convinced", Shum said. Following the meeting, she said she was concerned that the legal and financial implications of the decision have not been discussed in public.

Before the vote, concern mounted that the decision could throw a wrench into the aquarium's rescue program.

But Jason Colby, a professor of environmental history at the University of Victoria, says the absence of captive whales at the Vancouver Aquarium could ultimately hurt efforts to save their cousins in the wild. "Instead he was rescued and lives at the aquarium and will for the rest of his life, in human care".

The decision leaves uncertain futures for five beluga whales now on loan by the Vancouver Aquarium to US facilities.

"You can't do it at the rescue centre, which is akin to a hospital. For 50 years, the aquarium has been that long-term care", he said. "That being said, the Park Board does come to [city council] and ask us for more [money] every year in their budget". "It's an unusual assertion that park board commissioners may not have jurisdiction here, but we have". Tanks for the new exhibit were also created to be adaptable for other animals, so they could be used once the whale program was phased out.

But the ban will seriously hamper the aquarium's cetacean rescue and rehabilitation programs, said Nightingale in an interview on CKNW. Construction hasn't started, but the aquarium hoped to have it up and running within two years.

The aquarium previously announced plans to phase out its cetacean program by 2029, but first wanted to bring in five new belugas for a exhibit that is now under development.

"The aquarium is not going to go away".

Commissioner Sarah Kirby-Yung said rhetoric around the issue had "whipped the public into a frenzy". Most members did not feel that $20 million should be spent on an exhibit which may only be open for 10 years, especially when there are no belugas now living at the facility.

The last whales to live at the aquarium were two belugas, a mother and daughter named Aurora and Qila. Nightingale said they've started conversations with those now caring for the whales, but they aren't sure yet what will happen to them.

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