Vancouver Park Board Commissioners voted unanimously yesterday to put an end to the display of cetaceans on its property at Stanley Park where the Vancouver Aquarium is located. Campaigners celebrated this decision, having over the years raised concerns over conditions at the facility. Over the past two years a harbour porpoise and two belugas on loan from SeaWorld died at the facility and Vancouver’s last remaining beluga, Aurora died in November last year. Since these deaths campaigners have continued to protest outside the facility and around the world other concerned individuals have signed petitions and supported email campaigns. For now, three cetaceans remain at Vancouver Aquarium – a Pacific white-sided dolphin, false killer whale and harbour porpoise.
Seven Park Board councillors voted to bring forward for enactment by the Board an amendment to the Parks Control bylaw to prohibit the importation and display of live cetaceans in Vancouver parks. Vancouver Aquarium could of course appeal to nullify the park board’s powers, if this were to happen it could clear the way for them to resume displaying cetaceans, however whether they will choose to do this remains to be seen.
The Board has instructed staff to return the amendment for enactment by 15 May 2017.