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Humpback whale. Image: Christopher Swann

A story about whales and humans

As well as working for WDC, I write books for young people. Stories; about the...
Risso's dolphin at surface

My lucky number – 13 years studying amazing Risso’s dolphins

Everything we learn about the Risso's dolphins off the coast of Scotland amazes us and...
Dead sperm whale in The Wash, East Anglia, England. © CSIP-ZSL.

What have dead whales ever done for us?

When dead whales wash up on dry land they provide a vital food source for...
Risso's dolphin © Andy Knight

We’re getting to know Risso’s dolphins in Scotland so we can protect them

Citizen scientists in Scotland are helping us better understand Risso's dolphins by sending us their...
Pilot whales pooing © Christopher Swann

Talking crap and carcasses to protect our planet

We know we need to save the whale to save the world because they are...
Fin whale (balaenoptera physalus) Three fin whales Gulf of California.

Speaking truth to power – my week giving whales a voice

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting is where governments come together to make decisions about whaling...

Why do whales and dolphins strand on beaches?

People often ask me 'why' whales and dolphins do one thing or another.  I'm a...
A spinner dolphin leaping © Andrew Sutton/Eco2

Head in a spin – my incredible spinner dolphin encounter

Sri Lanka is home to at least 30 species of whales and dolphins, from the...

Canada needs help to End Captivity

Coming in the wake of recent efforts to end the cruel practice of captivity for whales, dolphins, and porpoises in North America, a bill currently in Canada’s Senate, S-203 (the Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act), would phase out captivity of whales, dolphins, and porpoises in the entire country, with the exception of rescue and rehabilitation to return them to the wild.  This effort is even more important now, following the death of Chester the false killer whale at the Vancouver Aquarium, leaving Helen, a Pacific white-sided dolphin, as the only individual still held at the Aquarium.

In Canada, Ontario has passed a law to phase out orca captivity, and the Vancouver Park Board in British Columbia has banned whale and dolphin captivity at the Vancouver Aquarium.  While individual provinces and states have been taking steps to end the practice of holding whales and dolphins for entertainment in North America, both the U.S. and Canada have yet to pass nationwide laws addressing whale and dolphin captivity.  In response to growing public opposition to captivity and an increasing awareness of the intelligence and complex social structures of whales and dolphins, many countries, including France, are taking steps to end or phase out captivity.

After being studied and developed for a year, S-203 was introduced to Canada’s Senate this year by Senator Murray Sinclair of Manitoba, and passed out of the Committee on Fisheries and Oceans this October.  It must now pass a third reading and a vote in the Senate before proceeding to the House of Commons and possibly becoming law next year.

A vote has been delayed because of concerns from Conservative lawmakers, which the bill’s coalition of supporters say have been addressed.  Environmental groups in Canada are asking for help in a social media campaign to ensure a reading and a vote before the Senate breaks for the holidays, and to thank Senator Sinclair for his support and for being a voice for captive marine mammals in Canada.  Canadians are encouraged to reach out to their Senators to educate them about the cruelty of captivity and ask them to vote on S-203, and to use social media to put pressure on politicians before Christmas.

The campaign is scheduled for December 5th and 6th, and will be linked by the tags #BillS203 and #cdnpoli.  You can read more about the development and progress of S-203 and the effort to end captivity for whales and dolphins in Canada here: “Bill S-203 Has the Power to End Whale and Dolphin Captivity in Canada”; and Canadian citizens can find out how to get involved here.