Target: Derral Moriyama, Chair, Vancouver Aquarium Board of Directors
Goal: End the captivity of beluga whales at the Vancouver Aquarium.
A beluga whale in the Vancouver Aquarium has been found dead, the second such death in only two weeks. The 30-year-old whale, named Aurora, had been struggling with an unknown illness that manifested itself shortly after her offspring, Qila, died only 10 days earlier. Qila was the first beluga whale born in captivity in Canada, and had lived for only 20 years.
Aurora had been suffering from symptoms that included loss of appetite, abdominal cramping, and lethargy. So far, scientists and researchers have been unable to diagnose her condition. This is cause for concern as it could mean that a new, unknown illness has developed.
Aurora was the last beluga whale being kept at the Vancouver Aquarium. The facility’s five other belugas are being kept in aquariums across the United States while upgrades are made to their tank. The upgrades will include expansion of the facilities and the doubling of surface area in the beluga tank.
According to the Vancouver Humane Society (VHS), the aquarium should consider ending its cetacean program instead of expanding the tank and bringing in more animals. According to Peter Fricker with the VHS, keeping marine mammals in captivity is cruel and unnatural. The animals lack companionship, space to move around, and enrichment.
In order to save more whales from this type of prolonged suffering and death, it is best to keep them out of captivity. Sign the petition below to demand that the Vancouver Aquarium shut down its beluga whale program.
Dear Mr. Moriyama,
Aurora, a 30-year-old whale at the Vancouver Aquarium, has recently died of a mysterious illness. Only 10 days previously, her offspring died as well. So far, researchers have not found the cause of the deaths, suggesting that perhaps a new and unknown condition could be affecting the animals.
Currently, the Vancouver Aquarium is upgrading its facilities. These improvements will include a larger beluga tank with increased surface area.
Instead of improving conditions for these whales, the cetacean program should be stopped entirely. It is cruel to keep intelligent and emotional animals like these in tanks where they lack space and enrichment. We, the undersigned, urge you to work to end the captivity of beluga whales at the Vancouver Aquarium.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Mark Doliner