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No More Whales at Vancouver Aquarium


DonLever

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from CKNW:

 

The Vancouver Park Board has unanimously decided to have staff look into amending the Parks Control bylaw to prohibit the importation and display of live cetaceans.

The Thursday decision follows the Vancouver Aquarium’s announcement to bring in new belugas before phasing out its’ cetacean research program and the display of belugas by 2029.

 

On the table were four possible options, ranging from holding a plebiscite on captive cetaceans in the 2018 municipal election to keeping the situation as-is.

 

The board will now instruct staff to investigate and report back on how best to implement the amendment by May 2017.

 

Vancouver Aquarium CEO and President John Nightingale issued a statement, which reads in part:

 

“For an enduring community organization founded by Vancouver residents, we feel the true essence of tonight’s topic was lost in the conversation.

Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre has a rich 60-year history of inspiring Canadians, of saving marine mammals in distress and of leading groundbreaking research to understand the questions that continue to confound scientists, including why we are now losing one to two species every single day.

While we debated the value of caring for and studying beluga whales, there is no debating that we are experiencing the biggest mass extinction since the age of dinosaurs.”

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While it's good PR to "care about the animals", I sometimes wonder about the impact of this on future generations. 

 

Animal in captivity isn't a good thing, but Vancouver Aquarium is top-notch compared to many others.  Think of how many children in the future will be unable to actually witness these majestic animals up close.  It's common sense that when things are out of sight, they are also out of mind.  The aquarium isn't just some place to display animals, it's a chance to educate minds of old and especially those who are young.  To teach them about their habitat, the environment, etc. 

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39 minutes ago, Lancaster said:

While it's good PR to "care about the animals", I sometimes wonder about the impact of this on future generations. 

 

Animal in captivity isn't a good thing, but Vancouver Aquarium is top-notch compared to many others.  Think of how many children in the future will be unable to actually witness these majestic animals up close.  It's common sense that when things are out of sight, they are also out of mind.  The aquarium isn't just some place to display animals, it's a chance to educate minds of old and especially those who are young.  To teach them about their habitat, the environment, etc. 

if they want to learn about them let them watch a video  whales in captivity is brutal whales are meant to swim hundreds of miles not be penned up in a small box of water 

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50 minutes ago, canuktravella said:

if they want to learn about them let them watch a video  whales in captivity is brutal whales are meant to swim hundreds of miles not be penned up in a small box of water 

I also dislike holding animals captive, especially if they're intelligent. However, I don't think this is such a black and white issue. Watching a video of something is far less impactful than seeing it in real life. And indeed, I remember as a child seeing some of these whale exhibits and it really stuck with me. Youtube videos of it.. not so much. Often the animals wouldn't survive in the wild anyway for various reasons. So you either let them free and they die, or you shuffle them elsewhere to avoid moral judgment.

 

I think scientists benefit a great deal from having such easy access to the animals as well, which can help them understand the species better and craft superior conservation techniques.

 

I think it seems likely if humanity doesn't massively change course, over the next several generations orcas may become endangered or wiped out entirely. What happens then? Is that preferable to having individuals in captivity to keep the species alive?

 

What comes to mind for me is the tiger situation. It's highly endangered in the wild at this point, but get this, the largest tiger population in the world isn't in Asia and parts of India and the like, it's in Texas. The iconic species seems all but doomed in its natural range, but will likely live on due to that.

 

I'm just playing the devil's advocate since I have such mixed feelings on the subject, but I just wanted to make those counter points. The cats I've had over the years were "outdoor cats" who had all the freedom they wanted even if it lowered their life expectancy a bit due to living near a forest, but I knew they had a better life because of it. I think a dwindling species makes it more complicated though.

 

Edit: It's the US in general, not just Texas, though I think the regulations in Texas being lax makes it a popular location for people to have them.

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If people want or need to see whales, go out on one of the hundreds of whale watching tours available and see them in their habitat,

Whats left of it.

It is total BS to paint this whales in captivity as an education for our youth, It is a tourist attraction nothing more and it is unacceptable!

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Yet people have fish in Aquariums at home. Dogs and cats either penned in or chained up, or stuck in their apartments. Birds in cages. 

Small dogs in purses. I think everyone would feel better if we could communicate with the whales and simply ask, do you want to roam free, or in an enclosed environment? 

Given now in the wild, there's contaminated food, pollution, noise, and other animals. Maybe we should be making a better environment for ourselves and other creatures. 

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Terrible decision and chalk up another victory to the "no to everything" movement in Vancouver. If you ever got to do a behind-the-scenes tour you'd get to see all the great work they do in trying to ensure amazing animals like Beluga's have a future. No one is getting rich from running the aquarium either, the idea that its a cash grab is a total fallacy, its a not for profit. Its only places like this that will be able to act if the Beluga population nears extinction with their work on breeding in captivity. But hey, the "no" folks feel like they accomplished something, so thats worth a species right?

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19 minutes ago, Alflives said:

Do they just release the ones they have then, to die in the wild?  

considering some psychopath may have poisoned the beluga's there's probably people in Vancouver who would want to see that and think its better for the animals there now.

 

This move really gets under my skin. We spent some great times there with our daughter and did a lot of tours of the research side and the people working there are awesome folks with nothing but the best intentions for the animals there. Its really a sad loss.

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3 hours ago, Mackcanuck said:

If people want or need to see whales, go out on one of the hundreds of whale watching tours available and see them in their habitat,

Whats left of it.

It is total BS to paint this whales in captivity as an education for our youth, It is a tourist attraction nothing more and it is unacceptable!

The decline in whale population isn't due to zoos and aquariums hunting them down.  If anything, it has brought more awareness to the issue of habitat degradation.  

Whales in captivity makes up only the smallest of fractions of total population on the planet.  

 

Whale-watching tours are great... but if you got 4 kids under 12... how are you gonna afford bringing them all those rides?  Would they really get the full experience?  There more to it than just seeing a whale swimming around, it's seeing them up close, with guides giving out more information and educating.  It's the little games where children run around the aquarium as part of the game to "Find out what orcas eat!" as part of their learning process.  Lots of information kiosks, terminals and posters on the wall with details about their place in the ecological system, lessons on what everyday people of all ages can do to make sure these beautiful creatures survive in the future.  

 

While just telling people to watch them on TV or to google them up online is a start, it still pales in comparison to what a properly run aquarium like in Vancouver can do.  Places that just trains them for show, yeah sure, shut those down, but VanAqua is the gold standard here.  

Suggesting using multimedia options as the solution is akin to saying that one can fully experience Europe by watching Rick Steve on PBS.

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21 minutes ago, Lancaster said:

The decline in whale population isn't due to zoos and aquariums hunting them down.  If anything, it has brought more awareness to the issue of habitat degradation.  

Whales in captivity makes up only the smallest of fractions of total population on the planet.  

 

Whale-watching tours are great... but if you got 4 kids under 12... how are you gonna afford bringing them all those rides?  Would they really get the full experience?  There more to it than just seeing a whale swimming around, it's seeing them up close, with guides giving out more information and educating.  It's the little games where children run around the aquarium as part of the game to "Find out what orcas eat!" as part of their learning process.  Lots of information kiosks, terminals and posters on the wall with details about their place in the ecological system, lessons on what everyday people of all ages can do to make sure these beautiful creatures survive in the future.  

 

While just telling people to watch them on TV or to google them up online is a start, it still pales in comparison to what a properly run aquarium like in Vancouver can do.  Places that just trains them for show, yeah sure, shut those down, but VanAqua is the gold standard here.  

Suggesting using multimedia options as the solution is akin to saying that one can fully experience Europe by watching Rick Steve on PBS.

Your opinion of the "GOLD STANDARD" of aquariums in Vancouver just had 2 Whales die on them in a period of weeks and they have absolutely no idea why?

 

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I disagree with the decision, I think the aquarium does a wonderful job caring for mammals that cannot survive in the wild on their own all while providing an educational experience for all of us and raising the awareness of their habitat worldwide.  In my opinion, and this is going to be controversial, I believe this is just another example of the pussification of society in N. America.  Just cater to the most vocal group all while ignoring the facts and common sense of the issue at hand.  I highly doubt the park board cares about this issue at the end of the day, they just want the votes so they can keep their cozy chairs warm. 

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Just now, Mackcanuck said:

Your opinion of the "GOLD STANDARD" of aquariums in Vancouver just had 2 Whales die on them in a period of weeks and they have absolutely no idea why?

 

You mean the two beluga that may have been poisoned with toxin?  Where it's still an open investigation with the police involved?

 

Yeah... that's totally VanAqua's fault that someone outside may have potentially murdered those animals.  

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