VANCOUVER, B.C. – A new survey shows dramatic public support for Vancouver Aquarium’s role in rescuing, rehabilitating and sheltering injured and sick whales, dolphins and porpoises.
The results of an Angus Reid Forum panel1 conducted May 2 to 3, 2017 show that 95 per cent of Metro Vancouver residents agree that the Aquarium should provide a long-term home to injured and sick cetaceans if Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) determines that the animal cannot survive in the wild.
Similarly, 94 per cent of British Columbians and 95 per cent of Metro Vancouver residents agree that the Vancouver Aquarium should continue to provide ongoing care for the rescued whale, dolphin, and porpoise currently at its facility, as these animals are unfit to survive in the wild.
The survey results come as the Vancouver Park Board readies a proposed bylaw that will ban cetaceans from Stanley Park. A ban would prevent the Vancouver Aquarium from providing a long-term home for injured, sick and orphaned cetaceans that require ongoing care.
“We are extremely concerned that the Vancouver Park Board’s proposed ban will have a devastating impact on current and future injured, sick or orphaned cetaceans,” said Dr. Martin Haulena, Head Veterinarian, Vancouver Aquarium. “Today’s survey results show overwhelming public support for the ongoing care these animals receive at the Vancouver Aquarium.”
The Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Program is the only facility in Canada with the expertise, resources, and personnel to provide the specialized care these whales, dolphins and porpoises require. The rescue program is governed by the DFO, which ultimately decides whether an animal can be released back into the wild after its rehabilitation.
“We have remained deeply committed to the well-being, rescue and rehabilitation of marine mammals for more than 50 years,” said John Nightingale, President and CEO, Vancouver Aquarium. “This survey and more than 11,000 letters recently sent to the Park Board demonstrate that the public supports the need for our world-class expertise and facilities in order to provide specialized care for the vulnerable animals who need our help most.”
The survey also showed:
• Most British Columbians (93%) agree that it is better to provide ongoing care for a stranded dolphin, whale, or porpoise at the Vancouver Aquarium than it is to euthanize the animal. A similar proportion of Metro Vancouverites (93%) agree with this statement.
• Most British Columbians (93%) agree that in the future, if scientists from the DFO determine that a whale, dolphin, or porpoise cannot be released back into the wild, that animal should be allowed to continue its life at the Vancouver Aquarium, rather than being euthanized. A similar proportion of Metro Vancouverites (92%) agree with this statement.
“The Park Board and its proposed ban are completely offside with the public and the scientific community on the care of sick, orphaned and injured cetaceans that cannot survive in the wild,” added Nightingale. “Hopefully, the Vancouver Park Board Commissioners listen to the public and their everyday constituents on this issue, rather than yield to what is obviously a vocal but small minority.”
1The Omnibus survey was commissioned on behalf of the Vancouver Aquarium, via the Angus Reid Forum panel. The study was in field between May 2 and May 3, 2017, and surveyed 806 individuals residing in British Columbia aged 18+. The estimated margin of error for the total sample is +/- 3.45%. Of this total sample, 466 individuals residing in Greater Vancouver Regional District were surveyed. The estimated margin of error for this sample is +/- 4.54%.
Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre
The Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre is a non-profit society dedicated to the conservation of
aquatic life. www.vanaqua.org.