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Vancouver Aquarium wants you to help save its rescue program

Last Updated Apr 28, 2017 at 6:06 am PDT

(Lasia Kretzel, NEWS 1130 Photo)

Plea from the facility as the Park Board considers banning cetacean display

Concerns the marine mammal program at the Vancouver Aquarium could soon be in jeopardy

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The Vancouver Aquarium wants you to help save its marine mammal rescue program. It’s appealing to the public as the city’s Park Board moves to ban the display of live cetaceans.

Staff at the facility claim the ban threatens the rescue program because it would prevent them from taking in injured whales and porpoises. A portion of the aquarium’s website encourages people to send letters of support for the program.

Chief Veterinarian Martin Haulena hopes the page will spur people to action. “I’m hoping that provides some information to folks — that up to this point — of just care, not heard and thought everything was going to work out. Or were just not previously engaged.”

The aquarium claims its program helps more than 100 sick, injured or orphaned mammals found along BC’s coastline and that most are treated, rehabilitated and then released back into the wild.

“The proposed bylaw has generated concern among our staff, members, and the public about the fate of the Marine Mammal Rescue Program and cetaceans currently in our care,” says incoming Chair of the Vancouver Aquarium’s Board of Directors Randy Pratt. “We share those concerns, and we are asking the public to make their voices heard on this issue.”

The Park Board says it will continue to work with Aquarium staff to support a thriving rescue program.

“The amendments, which are being finalized, are thoughtful and reflective of public opinion. They take into consideration that rescued cetaceans Chester, Helen and Daisy, are currently receiving care in Stanley Park,” says Park Board Chair Michael Wiebe.