The Nature of Things·Video

This man wants to create a sanctuary for retired whales in Nova Scotia

It’s easy to capture a whale from the wild, but hard to put one back, says Charles Vinick

It’s easy to capture a whale from the wild, but hard to put one back, says Charles Vinick

Activist works to create a sanctuary for retired beluga whales in Nova Scotia: The Last Walrus

1 year ago
Duration 4:38
“We’ve always known how easy it is to capture a whale. But we’ve learned how difficult it is to put one back, ” says Charles Vinick who dreams of returning captive whales to the ocean.

Keiko, the "sweetest killer whale known to man" and the star of the 90s film "Free Willy," changed history and public attitudes about the captivity of marine mammals.

Charles Vinick, the executive director of the Whale Sanctuary Project, led the effort to finally free the orca, but tragically Keiko died from pneumonia a year after he was released in the wild. 

"We've always known how easy it is to capture a whale," says Vinick, "and we learned how difficult it is to put one back."

He's now determined to establish North America's first wild refuge for belugas in Port Hilford, Nova Scotia. "We can't release them [fully] because they don't have the skills to survive in the wild, but what we can do is give them an environment that's natural."

Watch the video above for the full story.

Update: The Whale Sanctuary Project officially opened its visitor and operations centre in Sherbrooke, N.S. in October 2021.

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