Statement by Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums on the Recent Vancouver Park Board Decision

OTTAWA, March 10, 2017: CAZA is deeply concerned by yesterday’s decision by the Vancouver Park Board to make proposed amendments to bylaws which would prohibit the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre from importing or displaying whales, dolphins and porpoises.

While we can debate the philosophical differences, what the Vancouver Park Board failed to understand is the consequences that their ill-informed decision will have on the preservation of cetaceans in the wild.

The Vancouver Aquarium is Canada’s only facility with the skills, expertise and resources necessary to respond to marine mammal emergencies, and conduct essential scientific research to better understand our oceans.  They are the life line for injured and stranded marine mammals, leader in environmental research, animal activist, and storyteller for our oceans

It is always disheartening when public policy is based on ideology as opposed to fact.  According to the United Nations by the year 2100, more than half of the world’s marine species may be on brink of extinction. Yesterday’s hasty decision has immobilized important research necessary to conserve vulnerable populations of cetaceans in our oceans by stripping the Vancouver Aquarium of the rare opportunities available to scientists which would be impossible to lead in the wild.

The cetaceans currently receiving world-class care at the Aquarium who contribute to critical ocean research, and foster meaningful human connections will have no other option but to be euthanized.  This is the weight that yesterday’s decision carries.

As witnessed by the opening of the new marine mammal hospital this year, the need for Canada’s only Marine Mammal Rescue Centre (MMRC) to continue its role in saving sick, injured and standard marine mammals along our coastlines has never been greater. With over 100 patients admitted each year, yesterday’s decision will prohibit some marine mammals from receiving the necessary treatment required to be rehabilitated and released back into the wild.

We appeal to the Vancouver Park Board, local citizens, and scientists who work closely with the Aquarium to consider the grave consequences of this decision.  We ask the Park Board to work with the Vancouver Aquarium to ensure the dedicated staff at the MMRC can continue to save the lives of sick, injured, and stranded cetaceans.

For more information please contact Ashley Street (613-878-0274) or

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