This morning, January 29th, the Whale Sanctuary Project held a news conference in Nova Scotia and issued the following media release:
UPDATE: Whale Sanctuary Project Community Information Meeting Details:
- Dartmouth – Thursday, Jan 31st, 7.00 pm. 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.
Non-Profit Group Seeks Community Partner for Whale Sanctuary in Nova Scotia
HALIFAX, NS, January 29th, 2019
The Whale Sanctuary Project is holding 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.
The meetings will be held in Dartmouth, Liverpool, Port Hawkesbury, Sherbrooke and Sheet Harbour.
“We see this as an opportunity for the host community as well as for the whales who will live in the sanctuary for the rest of their lives,” said Charles Vinick, Executive Director of the non-profit organization. “There would be economic benefits including the creation of an education centre, an on-going need to purchase tons of frozen fish to feed the whales, as well as full and part-time jobs to be filled by local residents. Beyond these benefits, a community can take pride in the good they are doing for these whales.”
Public opinion continues to shift away from keeping highly intelligent and far-ranging marine mammals in tanks.
“Whales and dolphins have a highly complex sense of self,” said Lori Marino, President of the Whale Sanctuary Project, who is also a neuroscientist. “They suffer greatly spending their lives in concrete tanks, and 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.”
Right now, Parliament is poised to enact a ban on keeping any more whales and dolphins at entertainment facilities, and a seaside sanctuary will provide the space and autonomy the whales need in order to thrive.
The organization is looking for a 40-hectare area (just under half a square km) along the Atlantic shore of Nova Scotia that can become a home to whales who are retired from entertainment facilities or who are injured and need rehabilitation within a netted-off area. Sanctuaries already exist for land-based animals like elephants and chimpanzees who come from zoos and circuses. But there are none yet for whales and dolphins.
“Most of them have never learned survival skills, so they cannot be released into the open ocean,” Vinick explained. “But a seaside sanctuary will give them a chance to thrive in a stimulating natural ecosystem.”
At the upcoming meetings, Marino and Vinick will discuss what a sanctuary will look like and how it can play a positive role in the local community.
“We realize that people have questions and concerns about such a novel project,” Vinick said. “Some will be interested in potential environmental impacts. And local fishers will want to be assured that their livelihoods are preserved. We share these concerns and we want to work with everyone to figure out whether a sanctuary is a good fit for your community.”
If you think your coastal community could be well suited to a sanctuary, the Whale Sanctuary Project would be pleased to hear from you. You can contact them by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about the project and meet Lori and Charles, the public is invited to attend the community information meetings.
For more information visit: https://whalesanctuary.org/our-work/.
Media contact: Mary Ellen MacIntyre: 902-989-3522