First orca proposed for the whale sanctuary


PORT HILFORD – More than a year before it opened, the Whale Sanctuary Project (WSP) has a line on its first resident cetacean.

US animal rights magazine One Green Planet asks readers to urge owners of Marineland in Niagara Falls, Ont., To send their unique killer whale to the Port Hilford shelter, which is subject to provincial government clearance and federal and is not expected to become operational until at least 2022.

“Tell Marineland to take action to move Kiska to a suitable, unattractive house with the Whale Sanctuary Project in Nova Scotia,” warns the group’s website article, “Free World’s Loneliest Orca,” published Aug. 3. . “Sign this petition! ”

Kiska, a 44-year-old female killer whale who has lived alone in Marineland since her pet whale was sold to SeaWorld in San Diego in 2011, is raising public concern across North America for her living conditions in the marine park.

According to a CBC report last week, Animal Protection Services of Ontario asked the Marine Park to fix its water systems – which feed beluga whales, dolphins, walruses, sea lions and more. Kiska – in May. Lawyer and executive director of the not-for-profit Animal Justice of Ottawa, Camille Labchuk, told the broadcaster: “She is [Kiska] probably the loneliest killer whale in the world and that’s very sad… The best option… is to convert to an animal-free attraction, ”adding that one solution could be the WSP.

This prompted One Green Planet to publish its petition. The author of the article, Shelby Hettler, did not respond to the Journal’s email request for information.

In an interview, WSP Executive Director Charles Vinick said that although his organization did not launch the One Green Planet campaign, “these types of statements show people’s enthusiasm for the whale sanctuary and how they see the potential of the whale sanctuary to become a place where captive whales can enjoy a high quality of life.

When asked if the government agencies responsible for approving or ultimately rejecting the WSP’s license application might view the magazine’s initiative as premature or even disruptive, he replied, “Yes, we are not ready, we are not there yet. [but] we are making excellent progress with the Department of Lands and Forestry on the crown lease of the sanctuary lands and waters at Port Hilford and we are moving forward on all fronts.

Said Labchuk in an email: “I have not been in contact with them [One Green Planet] or with any other petitioner [and] I haven’t specifically discussed bringing Kiska to Nova Scotia with the WSP… but… sanctuaries like this must be part of the solution for the whales who are suffering so much in captivity.

She added: “Animal Justice’s perspective is that governments should play an important supporting role in establishing sanctuaries so that homes can be found for all whales and dolphins currently held in captivity in Canada and elsewhere. The Nova Scotia Sanctuary is a tremendous reflection of the strong leadership and vision of the WSP, and I hope we will see more shrines take root. We hope governments will fund the WSP and other possible sanctuaries, as the plight of captive whales is ultimately a public issue that our political leaders must address. ”

The timing seems good. In 2019, the Government of Canada passed the Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act, which phased out the practice of keeping cetaceans except for rescues, rehabilitation, authorized scientific research, or the best interests of whales. animals. It also prohibits their trade, possession, capture and reproduction.

The following year, after an exhaustive international search, the WSP selected Port Hilford as the site for its operation, which would be only the second of its kind (after the Icelandic Beluga Whale Sanctuary at the Sæheimar Aquarium).

“With the work we have already done to create this sanctuary, we are sharing with everyone,” Vinick said. “I think the fact that the public is engaged with us and knowing the specific name of this animal, Kiska, is good.”

He added: “Now what we really want to have is an open dialogue with Marineland. We would like to work with the people who are the caregivers [when] examine whether this particular petition [Kiska] is a candidate for the sanctuary.


Comments are closed.