In 2021, a cove off of Canada’s east coast along the Nova Scotian shore will be home to North America’s first whale sanctuary. The Whale Sanctuary Project, from the USA, will be working with a local community in Sherbrooke, and the Municipality of the District of St Mary’s on the project’s development.
The project still requires some provincial and federal permits. However, if all goes well, the $12- to $15-million project should be up and running next year as planned.
The discharged orcas and belugas, eight whales in total, will be brought to the region permanently where these cetaceans can retire from captivity.
They have entertained hundreds of thousands of humans at the expense of their own mental and physical health. Finally, these entertainers will be free in their natural habitat, and not in an aquarium.
The sanctuary area will be netted off for the whales in an open bay, and still sheltered from the Atlantic storms. The sheltered area is around 100 acres water – about a fifth the size of Monaco – with depths reaching 15 meters (50 feet). The sanctuary will create an area where a retired whale is free to swim and dive deeply while still being cared for by humans.
Unfortunately, cetaceans that have been born into and held in captivity can’t be released fully into the wild.
There has been increasing pressure to end the practice of captivity in amusement parks. The welfare of orcas and belugas suffer while in these cement and unnatural aquariums.
In June 2019, Canada passed a ruling, dubbed the “Free Willy” law, which bans whale, dolphin, and porpoise captivity except in some instances such as rescues, rehabilitation, scientific research, or for the animal’s welfare.
Currently, there are approximately 300 beluga whales and 60 orcas that remain captive in aquariums across the globe. Animal rights groups are fighting hard each day to remove whales from the indignities and injustice of such captivities.
We salute those who stand for the ones with no voice. Canada has made a fantastic movement to ban such captivity and open a sanctuary. However, there is more work to be done!
One’s life should not be lived for the entertainment of humans.