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Mindful conservation – why we need a new respect for nature

'We should look at whales and dolphins as the indigenous people of the seas -...
tins of whale meat

How Japan’s whaling industry is trying to convince people to eat whales

Japan's hunters kill hundreds of whales every year despite the fact that hardly anyone in...
Common dolphins © Christopher Swann

Did you know dolphins have personalities?

Kidzone - quick links Fun Facts Our Goals Curious kids Kids blogs Fantastic fundraisers Gallery...
Microplastics on beach

Blue whales and the menace of microplastics – how we’ll solve this problem

Our love affair with plastic began in the 1950s when it revolutionised manufacturing. But what...
A dolphin called Arnie with his shell.

Dolphins catch fish using giant shell tools

In Shark Bay, Australia, two groups of dolphins have figured out how to use tools...
Common dolphins at surface

Did you know that dolphins have unique personalities?

We all have personalities, and between the work Christmas party and your family get-together, perhaps...
Leaping harbour porpoise

The power of harbour porpoise poo

We know we need to save the whale to save the world. Now we are...
Holly. Image: Miray Campbell

Meet Holly, she’s an incredible orca leader

Let me tell you the story of an awe-inspiring orca with a fascinating family story...

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.