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An orca named 'Hulk' off Caithness, Scotland

My amazing week watching orcas in Scotland

Orca Watch's 10th anniversary event in the far north of Scotland was exhilarating with a...

Faroes dolphin hunt review – disappointing is an understatement

I wasn't alone in hoping that substantial changes would be made as a result of...
Minke whale - V Mignon

We told them this would happen! Time to halt cruel whale experiments

An ill-conceived and so far ill-fated joint US/ Norwegian experiment to test minke whales' reaction...
Sponging dolphin in Shark Bay

Dolphins who catch fish with shells

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WDC team at UN Ocean conference

Give the ocean a chance – our message from the UN Ocean Conference

I'm looking out over the River Tejo in Lisbon, Portugal, reflecting on the astounding resilience...
We need whale poo 📷 WDC NA

Whales are our climate allies – meet the scientists busy proving it

At Whale and Dolphin Conservation, we're working hard to bring whales and the ocean into...
Humpback whale underwater

Climate giants – how whales can help save the world

We know that whales, dolphins and porpoises are amazing beings with complex social and family...
Black Sea common dolphins © Elena Gladilina

The dolphin and porpoise casualties of the war in Ukraine

Rare, threatened subspecies of dolphins and porpoises live in the Black Sea along Ukraine's coast....

Vancouver Aquarium – Uncovered

A new documentary, Vancouver Aquarium – Uncovered is available to view on YouTube or watch below. Over the course of 60 minutes, it details, through interviews with cetacean experts, Vancouver Aquarium staff and Vancouver Park Board representatives, past and current, the problems associated with the keeping of whales and dolphins at the Aquarium, problems which are typical of the industry which displays whales and dolphins to the public for entertainment.

One thing the Aquarium does do differently to a lot of aquaria holding whales and dolphins in captivity is the claims it makes regarding its contributions to conservation and education. Other facilities may make similar claims, but Vancouver Aquarium has built its reputation on it. It has also claimed the belugas it keeps are not in a breeding programme. The film exposes how little the Aquarium does in fact contribute to conservation, reporting that no wild whale or dolphin has benefitted from the Aquarium’s captive programme. Footage also shows interviews with school children after a visit suggesting they learned next to nothing about wild whales and dolphins, let alone conservation. It also reveals how belugas from the Vancouver Aquarium are part of SeaWorld’s active breeding programme, including Nanuq on long term breeding loan from Vancouver, who died in 2015 at SeaWorld Orlando while suffering from an infection in a jaw injury that resulted from an “interaction” with another whale.

Further shocking revelations, many of which are documented in Park Board meetings, with Board Members asking poignant questions, include the high calf mortality at the Aquarium compared to the wild, sourcing of Pacific white-sided dolphins from Japan under “rescue” claims, and CEO John Nightingale’s clanger from June 2015: ““I think the idea that animals ought to live free in nature is absolutely a natural human emotion, but we believe that is wrong.”

Worth a watch, if a depressing one.

About Cathy Williamson

Cathy Williamson was policy manager of our End Captivity Programme until July 2021.