So you saw the documentary “Blackfish” and now, all you can think about, are the poor whales penned in at the Vancouver Aquarium. What evil organization would confine such beautiful animals of the north to such a small saltwater tank?
Well, before you start organizing Facebook groups and public rallies, here are a few facts to consider:
1. As of 1996, The Vancouver Aquarium only adopts marine mammals that are born in another aquarium or were rescued and deemed non-releasable by a government authority. The last marine mammal ‘collected’ by the Vancouver Aquarium was Aurora, the beluga. Aurora has been with the Aquarium since 1990.
2. No one is making a profit on the fish and mammals held at the Vancouver Aquarium. The admission cost is high, but all that revenue goes towards maintaining a world-class facility and supporting other marine programs like ocean pollution research, marine mammal rescue centres and the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup.
If you are worried about costs, consider a family membership. A family membership will grant two adults and up to four children unlimited entry to the facility for one or two years. Think of all those rainy weekends… Wouldn’t you rather have your kids learning first hand about life ‘under the sea’ than watching “The Little Mermaid” for the 47th time.
3. Education is paramount at the Vancouver Aquarium. If your child goes to public school in the Lower Mainland, he or she will probably visit the Vancouver Aquarium at least a half a dozen times before they graduate high school. Each visit will include talks and information from trained staff that will inspire a lifetime of marine life interest. Having a world class facility at our backdoor means that are children are far more likely to take up the torch for preserving and researching conservation methods for marine life around the world.
4. Research done by aquarium officials leads to advanced studies that are continued with marine life outside of the aquarium. These studies help scientists better understand marine life and the changing environment. This is especially important for northern ecosystems. Studying beluga whales in captivity helps scientists find solutions for approaching global warming challenges like the massive reduction on sea ice in northern Canada.
5. Rescued animals that have been hurt and deemed non-releasable need a home and constant care. The Vancouver Aquarium and other similar marine facilities offer this care 24/7. Instead of putting down or releasing a marine animal that has an extremely low chance of survival, the Aquarium can nurse the animal back to health. During the recovery period, thousands of visitors can enjoy the presence of the marine guest. The Vancouver Aquarium rehabilitates and releases about 100 marine animals back into the wild each year.
Ocean Wise, a program created and continued by the Vancouver Aquarium, helps consumers make informed decisions about their culinary choices in regards to sustainable seafood. The Ocean Wise label lets know that an item has been harvested responsibly. This transfer of information will have you sleeping better about your seafood choices.