#CBC: “Secret location off N.S. could host world’s 1st sanctuary for captive whales and dolphins ” #Toronto #Montreal #Calgary #Ottawa #Canada

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A secret location alongside Nova Scotia’s southwest coast has been shortlisted as a possible web site for the world’s first retirement dwelling for whales and dolphins raised in captivity.

The pioneering effort began two years in the past when the U.S.-based Whale Sanctuary Project introduced it was taking a look at websites throughout North America to determine a big seaside enclosure.

“The writing is on the wall for all of these [marine parks and aquariums] that hold cetaceans — dolphins, whales and porpoises,” says Lori Marino, president of the non-profit group.

“They are really going to need to phase this practice out if they want to win favour with the public.”

Marino confirmed this week that the checklist of potential websites has been narrowed to 2 areas: Nova Scotia and Washington state — with a pair websites in British Columbia as backup choices.

Atlantic white-sided dolphins are identified to be playful. (Penny Graham)

Talks are ongoing with authorities officers, native residents, fishermen and First Nations, however the group has but to submit a proper proposal to Canadian or U.S. officers.

“It is something that we would be open to working with them on if they decide to proceed with this world-class project here in Nova Scotia,” provincial authorities spokesperson Chrissy Matheson mentioned in an electronic mail. “It would be a fantastic opportunity for Nova Scotia.”

The group plans to decide earlier than the top of the yr, and the aim is to have a 28-hectare sanctuary — in regards to the measurement of 40 soccer fields — working by 2020.

About $2 million has been raised for the $20-million undertaking. A fundraising drive is predicted to start quickly.

“There’s so much distaste for keeping these animals in tanks and asking them to perform for their supper,” mentioned Marino, a neuroscientist and professional in animal behaviour who has studied marine mammals for 25 years.

In a 2006 file photograph, a younger woman watches by way of the glass as a killer whale passes by whereas swimming in a show tank at SeaWorld in San Diego. (Chris Park/The Associated Press)

“There are animals right now living in concrete tanks who may live for another 20 or 30 years. The idea of them living under those conditions is really inhumane and intolerable. This is the solution.”

Public attitudes towards holding the very smart and socially advanced animals in captivity have modified as researchers have discovered extra about their lives.

“There’s so much scientific evidence that their welfare was very poor,” Marino mentioned, including that the 2013 documentary Blackfish helped expose the darker facet of the marine mammal leisure business by specializing in Tilikum, an orca concerned within the deaths of three individuals.

According to the Change For Animals Foundation, there are not less than 2,300 cetaceans in captivity worldwide, together with about 2,000 dolphins, 200 beluga whales and 53 orcas, that are in any other case often known as killer whales.

But these numbers are anticipated to drop within the years forward, notably in North America.

In January, the Vancouver Aquarium introduced it could not hold whales and dolphins in captivity, saying the heated public debate over the problem was getting in the way in which of its conservation work.

Animal rights activists say Marineland’s killer whale is sick, however park officers insist Kiska is in good well being. 1:56

Last month, a whole bunch of protesters gathered exterior the Marineland journey park in Niagara Falls, Ont., the place dozens of beluga whales and dolphins are a part of the present. The park is dwelling to Canada’s lone captive killer whale, Kiska.

‘Life within the tank’

In 2015, Ontario grew to become the primary province to ban the shopping for, promoting and breeding of orcas.

The following yr, business chief Seaworld Parks and Entertainment introduced it could cease breeding orcas in captivity. And in Ottawa, a invoice tabled within the Senate would prohibit whales and dolphins from being stored in captivity.

There are not less than 2,300 cetaceans in captivity worldwide, in line with the Change For Animals Foundation. (Chris Park/Associated Press)

However, whales and dolphins raised in captivity cannot be returned to the wild as a result of they do not have the mandatory survival abilities.

Renowned marine biologist Hal Whitehead, a professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax, is among the many Whale Sanctuary Project’s many worldwide advisers.

“As we’ve learned more about [whales and dolphins]it’s clear that life in the tank is very far from how they would normally live their lives in the wild,” mentioned Whitehead, including there will probably be challenges when establishing a seaside enclosure.

“It’s not an ideal life for any of these animals, but it’s a helluva lot better than where they are now.”

There are about 200 beluga whales in captivity worldwide, in line with the Change for Animals Foundation. (Canadian Press)

Critics have mentioned the sanctuary plan is flawed as a result of will probably be tough to include orcas that may weigh as a lot as 5,400 kilograms. As properly, they are saying marine mammals raised in captivity can carry pathogens that would infect wild populations.

Whitehead mentioned these behind the undertaking plan to erect two nets to maintain the whales in, and he harassed that monitoring by veterinarians will cut back the danger of sickness.

“I have been impressed with the care and diligence with which the group has approached this,” he mentioned in an interview. “They’ve really thought of the issues they have to deal with … to minimize the risks.”

Dalhousie biology professor Hal Whitehead, left, PhD candidate Laura Feyrer and masters pupil Taylor Hersh on the sailboat Balaena throughout a analysis journey off Newfoundland. (Submitted)

Marino says her group’s panel of advisers has intensive expertise with holding nets, and he or she harassed that the areas chosen will probably be shielded from the open ocean.

“The idea of escapes is very, very remote,” she mentioned.
   

Note: “Previously Published on: 2018-06-07 11:21:25, as ‘Secret location off N.S. could host world’s 1st sanctuary for captive whales and dolphins

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