Vancouver Aquarium whales program to be reviewed at Park Board meeting

The continuing controversy over Vancouver Aquarium's captive whale and dolphin program will be addressed at a special meeting of the Park Board on Saturday, July 26.

Stanley Park attraction to respond to criticism of captive cetacean program

Questions around whether Vancouver Aquarium should be allowed to keep beluga whales and other cetaceans are being reviewed by the Park Board. (John Healey/Vancouver Aquarium)

The continuing controversy over Vancouver Aquarium's captive whale and dolphin program will be addressed at a special meeting of the Park Board on Saturday, July 26.

The meeting agenda includes presentation of the staff report into the aquarium's operations around captive cetaceans that was ordered in April this year.

After hearing the staff report, the Vancouver Aquarium will present to the board on its programming, education and rehabilitation programs, then registered speakers will be invited to comment.

A public memo — also commissioned at the April meeting —  has been made available and provides an overview of the current arrangements and relationship between the Vancouver Park Board and the aquarium.

An online petition calling for the end to the practice of keeping captive beluga whales and other cetaceans at the popular Stanley Park attraction has garnered 25,000 signatures so far.

The Vancouver Aquarium is home to two beluga whales and two Pacific White-Sided Dolphins. It also runs a Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, which is not in Stanley Park.

Over the past 10 years, there have been two attempts to put the issue to a referendum or plebiscite, both unsuccessful.

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