Vancouver Parks Board Commissioner Stuart Mackinnon has put forward a motion that could see the public voting on whether or not we should have whales in captivity in Vancouver [source]. The referendum would take place during the next municipal election in 2011.
The Vancouver Aquarium has been around since June of 1956 and in 1975 it was the first aquarium accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). In 1987 was designated Canada’s Pacific National Aquarium by the Canadian Federal Government [source].
When I was young they used to have Orcas in the main tank (Hyak, Finna and Bjossa), performing shows that would splash the crowd. The last Orca was removed from the Aquarium in 2001 as they sought to take on a more educational aspect of their marine life displays rather than entertainment-oriented spectacles.
They’ve have dolphins throughout the years (who are now in the old Orca tank) which are part of a smaller presentation about marine conservation and rescue. There are a few Belugas still at the Aquarium although there have been several baby Beluga deaths recently, which prompted the timely call for action from the Parks Board.
The Aquarium released an official statement yesterday: “The Vancouver Aquarium strongly opposes the plebiscite motion on the July 19th Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation meeting agenda. The Aquarium believes the discussion of the motion should take place at the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation meeting, and will address the motion at that time.”
Update July 20, 2010 CTV Reports: “Vancouver’s park commissioners have rejected a motion urging a non-binding plebiscite on the issue in next year’s civic election.”