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New role for 'Free Willy' team member with Whale Sanctuary Project

Charles Vinick (Photo courtesy the Whale Sanctuary Project)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The man who helped to actually ‘Free Willy’ is taking on a new role with the Whale Sanctuary Project, which could eventually set up somewhere along the BC coast.

Already on the project’s board, Charles Vinick now also holds the title of executive director.

Vinick helped ease Keiko the Orca back into the wild after the Hollywood blockbuster in the 1990s. He draws a parallel between that, and an ambitious Sanctuary project that aims to net off a cove or inlet for rescued whales and cold-water dolphins.

“That was a very big project and a very expensive project. But no more expensive and in may ways less expensive, than the kinds of expansions some of the parks are talking about today that would still retain small concrete enclosures for these animals.”

Fencing in an entire cove or inlet for rescued whales and dolphins is the project’s goal and an ambitious one, admits Vinick.

“We do know how to build the infrastructure, we do know how to support it, we do have familiarity with what it takes to do this. But the intent for most of these animals is that they are not candidates for release, but they do deserve to live in a natural environment for the rest of their lives.”

The Sanctuary has yet to find a location.