OTTAWA – January 18, 2018 : Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) unequivocally supports the decision made today by the Vancouver Aquarium to focus on raising awareness of ocean issues impacting marine mammals, and to no longer display cetaceans at the Aquarium.
“I, along with over one million visitors are year, am inspired by the team of researchers, volunteers, and marine mammal experts at the Aquarium who have dedicated their lives to the care and sustainability of marine mammals,” said Dr. Susan Shafer, Executive Director at CAZA. “CAZA will continue to support the Vancouver Aquarium as they advance their work as a leader in in global ocean conservation through Ocean Wise.”
As Vancouver’s leading environment organization, the Vancouver Aquarium is a pioneer of scientific research which has advanced our understanding of cetacean health in the wild and cetacean care. Although CAZA supports the decision of the Aquarium to no longer display cetaceans, we are acutely aware of the loss to scientific research opportunities with well cared for marine mammals that will be available as a result.
We are also vividly attuned to the reality of future generations that will never have the opportunity to connect with these incredible species. Research shows that when we feel a part of nature, we act in its favour. Canadians are spending 12% less time with nature than they did in 1996, and as a result our connection with nature and wildlife is diminishing. Without access to connect with these magnificent animals, meaningful connections that inspire visitors to protect our oceans and those who inhabit them will be lost.
Rescuing over 100 marine mammals every year, we are pleased to learn that the Marine Mammal Rescue Program will continue to operate. As the only facility in Canada with the expertise and resources necessary to respond to marine mammal emergencies the Aquarium is the life line for injured and stranded marine mammals who otherwise could not survive on their own.
The Vancouver Aquarium is a leader in environmental research, animal activist, and storyteller for our oceans. CAZA is excited about the start of a new era for the Vancouver Aquarium with the launch of the global ocean conservation organization – Ocean Wise – which will focus on raising awareness on ocean issues; conduct research, education, and direct action programs; and inspire the global community to take action.
It is always disheartening when critical work to save and protect threatened species is disrupted as a result of interference by political ideology. We applaud the Vancouver Aquarium for today’s courageous announcement, and we encourage Canadians to support and join them in their efforts to protect marine species who urgently require it.
Founded in 1975, CAZA is the leading animal welfare standards development organization in Canada. Its standards development process includes expert opinion from researchers, biologists, and academia to ensure that our standards reflect the latest in animal welfare research, organizational management, and public safety protocols. Through a science-based approach, CAZA’s standards bridge the ethical concerns regarding zoos and aquariums, and are currently the only pan-Canada set of standards mandating zoological facilities in the country. Out of hundreds of zoos in Canada, only 31 have received CAZA accreditation through independent inspection.
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Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums