UPDATE: Whale Sanctuary Project Community Information Meeting Details:
- Dartmouth – Thursday, Jan 31st, 7.00 pm. (Doors open at 6.30.) Alderney Landing (The Rotunda), 2 Ochterloney Street;
- Liverpool – Friday, Feb 1st, 6.30 pm. Astor Theatre, (Gorham Room) 219 Main Street;
- Port Hawkesbury – Monday, Feb 4th, 6.30 pm. Civic Centre, 606 Reeves Street;
- Sherbrooke – Wednesday, Feb 6th, 6.30 pm. Fire Hall, 91 Old Road Hill;
- Sheet Harbour – Thursday, Feb 7th, 6.30 pm. Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 58, 23566 Nova Scotia Highway Trunk 7.
- Shelburne Area – Saturday Feb 9th, 1 pm. Parish of Christ Church Hall, 128 Hammond Street, Shelburne.
Jan 29, 2019: At a news conference, this morning, in Halifax, the Whale Sanctuary Project announced a series of public information meetings over the next 10 days to identify communities in Nova Scotia that may be interested in becoming home to a seaside sanctuary for beluga whales being retired from entertainment parks.
“We think that somewhere along this Atlantic coast of more than 8,000 kilometers, there may be an ideal site for a whale sanctuary,” our Executive Director, Charles Vinick, told reporters. “Most importantly, we believe there is the perfect community that shares our vision. And, once we find this community, we will find that site. That’s what we’re setting out to do over the next few weeks while we host public information meetings.”
“We believe there is the perfect community that shares our vision. And, once we find this community, we will find that site.”
Charles explained that the sanctuary will be a benefit not only to the whales who will be living there, but also to the community that hosts the sanctuary. For example, economic benefits to the community will include the creation of education center, employment for local residents, and the fact that the sanctuary will be purchasing food for the whales.
Dr. Lori Marino, President of the Whale Sanctuary Project, talked about her 30 years studying whales and dolphins.
“I’ve learned that belugas and other whales are highly intelligent and social mammals with a highly complex sense of self,” she said. “And because of these characteristics they suffer greatly spending their lives in concrete tanks in entertainment parks.”
Lori described their lives in those facilities as stressful, unhealthy, and short.
“The only way to end their suffering is to relocate them to a permanent seaside sanctuary, where they can receive expert care in a natural environment that serves their needs.”
Charles said that the site we’re looking for would be a 40-hectare area (roughly 100 acres) along the Atlantic shore of Nova Scotia. It would be a home for five to eight whales who are retired from entertainment facilities or who are injured and need rehabilitation within a netted-off area. On the shoreline there will be facilities for animal care and for sanctuary staff.
Together, Lori and Charles emphasized the importance of finding a coastal community that sees itself as the ideal home for what is certainly a novel project.
“We’re looking for communities that are as excited about this project as we are,” Charles said, “and who want to roll up their sleeves on the details so that together we can create this world-class endeavor.”