News Column

Report says whale, dolphin research would suffer if they're banned from aquarium

July 23, 2014

The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER - A new report says research-and-rescue work on dolphins and whales at the Vancouver Aquarium could suffer if the facility ended its captivity program.

The report by University of California veterinarians and scientists comes at a time of increased public debate about keeping the animals in captivity and will go to the Vancouver parks board for discussion this weekend.

In April, Vancouver city Coun. Adriane Carr said the issue should be addressed during this fall's municipal elections, and Mayor Gregor Robertson said he'd like to see the captivity program phased out.

The report, commissioned by the park board, says the aquarium keeps Pacific white-sided dolphins, harbour porpoises and belugas but doesn't capture or cause to be captured the animals if they are wild.

It says the aquarium has also pioneered emergency care, transportation, feeding and medical treatment protocols for wild dolphins and whales that have been stranded.

The report says aquarium staff wouldn't be able to perform long-term care for stranded animals or apply research learned from captive whales and dolphins to wild populations if the captivity program ended.

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Source: Canadian Press DataFile

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