Lori Marino, President of the Whale Sanctuary Project, was back in Nova Scotia this month to meet with provincial officials and First Nations community members, and to talk with scientists and fisheries experts who are helping to complete the in-depth analysis of possible sanctuary locations.
She also gave two talks: one at Dalhousie University and the other at the beautiful new Halifax Central Library.
The talk at Dalhousie was primarily for faculty members and students who are following the progress of the Whale Sanctuary Project and are interested in joining the effort. It was made possible by Dalhousie faculty members Andrew Fenton, Letitia Meynell, Tim Krahn and Hal Whitehead, who is a member of our Advisory Committee and is renowned for his groundbreaking studies on deep-water whales.
(Prof. Whitehead was just preparing his research ship, the Balaena, an ocean-going sailboat, for its next trip from Nova Scotia to the warmer and very inviting waters of the Caribbean.)
Lori’s second talk followed a public screening of the movie Blackfish at the Halifax Central Library. The evening was part of the “Pushing Boundaries” series that explores whether there are any differences between us humans and our fellow animals that justify treating them differently from how we should treat one another.
Sen. Moore talked about the Whale Sanctuary Project as the clear alternative for captive whales.
After the film, Lori was joined by Letitia Meynell and Andrew Fenton to discuss the ethical dimensions of captivity for dolphins and whales.
Also present was retired Nova Scotia Senator Wilfred Moore, the author of Bill S-203, which would ban keeping dolphins and whales in display parks in Canada and is currently working its way through the Canadian Senate. Sen. Moore addressed the audience and talked about the Whale Sanctuary Project as the clear alternative for captive whales.
The week was organized by our advisor-on-the-ground Catherine Kinsman, director of the Whale Stewardship Project and of the documentary film Where Whales and Humans Meet. The film is about an orphan beluga known as Wilma, who took up residence in a rural Nova Scotia harbor and charmed residents and visitors with her ability to mimic human language. When Wilma’s survival became threatened by increasingly serious injuries, the community joined with the Whale Stewardship Project in offering her greater protection through adopting the first official guidelines in the world for solitary sociable beluga whales. (Check out this 2012 interview with Catherine about Wilma.)
After a full week of other meetings, Lori and Catherine were honored to be invited by Chief Terry Paul of the Membertou First Nation to make a presentation on the Whale Sanctuary Project at the Kwilmu’kw Maw-klusuaqn Negotiation Office in Millbrook, Nova Scotia.
The discussion ended with Chief Paul giving Lori and Catherine a quick language lesson, in which they learned the Mi’kmaq word for whale: Putup. (It’s pronounced “boo-dupe.”)