Make your own free website on

January 25, 2002, Vancouver, BC. The Vancouver Aquarium is responsible for yet another death of a sea creature when Whitewings, a Pacific Whitesided Dolphin, died last night after being repeatedly subjected to forcible removal of her stomach contents.

Veterinarian Dr. Huff merrily described the "common procedure" whereby the stomach contents are removed by people sticking their hands down the dophins throat and pulling the material out manually. Whitewings died, according to the vet, when the procedure was performed for the fourth time in a row.

Although the Aquarium contends that they were removing "stones and pine cones," it has been noted that a lot of other garbage from Starbucks, the gift shop, and elsewhere, regularly ends up in the live animal exhibits.

In the wild, dolphins do not eat such objects, but often do so in captivity. This only emphasizes the unnatural and unhealthy nature of the aquarium business. Lucrative, however, for those who profit from animal suffering.

Animal advocates have long protested the keeping of live animals in captivity. The trade in exotic and wild animals and their parts is second only to the drug trade in profits, and contributes significantly to the depletion of wild populations, especially since many of the animals die during capture or in transit, and also because their lifespan in captivity, should they survive to that point, is significantly reduced. It is impossible to recreate natural living conditions in captivity, and the cramped quarters, contaminated water, and poor quality diet leads to psychological stress (resulting in unnatural behaviours) and repeated illnesses resulting in death.

The Aquarium autopsy reports often show that deaths are directly caused by illnesses, bacteria, and viruses found only in aquarium environments.

A baby Sea Lion died several years ago from an anaesthetic administered during an animal experiment, another little known cruel practice which goes on behind closed doors at the Vancouver Aquarium. The Aquarium refuses to release the results of the long-running Sea Lion "experiments" to the public or to a Vancouver Park Board commissioner, so the extent of their suffering can only be imagined.

The revolving door in place in the current park bylaw governing Vancouver parks allows the Aquarium to bring in whales and dolphins ad infinitum.

The citizens of Vancouver have for years demanded a referendum on the issue, but have been repeatedly refused by a park board dominated by the NPA, longtime friends of big business such as the Vancouver Aquarium (an institution founded by the folks at Macmillan Bloedel (forestry) and Canada Packers (meat)).

Now that Whitewings has been killed, the new dolphin illegally acquired from Japan (and a product of the cruel "dolphin drives" in which hundreds of dolphins are driven onto the shore and hacked to death) will be on her own, with none of her own species to commune with.

And the same argument used to bring her here will be used to bring other free dolphin souls into slavery…."she's lonely, she needs a companion"……to which animal advocates say that she should be sent to a dolphin release program where she can be with others of her kind, and hopefully returned to freedom. The Aquarium, however, is proceding with plans to import 3 or 4 more dophins, which they plan to force to perform stunts for human profit. How……educational.

By Commissioner Roslyn Cassells
Elected member, Vancouver Park Board

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - January 26, 2002

The Coalition For No Whales in Captivity mourns the death of another dolphin in Vancouver. Whitewings, a female Pacific white-sided dolphin, died of respiratory failure and cardiac arrest last night while Vancouver Aquarium staff removed debris from her stomach, a procedure that captive dolphins are regularly subjected to when living inside concrete tanks. The aquarium's claim, that dolphins commonly ingest rocks and shells in the wild as they do in captivity, is simply preposterous.

In a 1993 public referendum Vancouverites voted to close the Stanley Park Zoo, sending a clear message to the Vancouver Park Board that the public is opposed to keeping wildlife in captivity.

Ignoring the intent of a park board bylaw, and the public outcry against the importation of more captive dolphins, the aquarium imported a dolphin from a Japanese dolphinarium in July 2001. The aquarium claimed they needed another dolphin to keep Whitewings company, although they must have known that Whitewings, because of her age, did not have much longer to live.

Six months after the Japanese dolphin's arrival, Whitewings is now dead and we can be sure that the aquarium will once again use the "companionship" argument in their attempt to justify bringing more captive dolphins to Vancouver.

It is time to stop the cruelty. We urge the Park Board to stop the aquarium's plan to bring more dolphins to die in Stanley Park.


For more information:
Nikki Rotmeyer, Spokesperson
Coalition For No Whales In Captivity
Tel: (604) 986-8281

- AUGUST 3, 2001

Aquarium supports Japanese dolphin slaughter and purchases a new dolphin. Today the Vancouver Aquarium informed the Vancouver Park Board by fax of the arrival of a new dolphin imported this morning into Stanley Park. The new dolphin was bought from a dolphinarium in Osaka, Japan - an aquarium which regularly purchases dolphins from bloody dolphin drives where hundreds of animals are slaughtered on the beach and a selected few are sold to dolphinariums around the world.

It is dolphinariums like this one in Vancouver that finance and support the cruelty of killing and capturing dolphins. For more information and video footage of a Japanese dolphin drive, please visit the website:

A Park Board bylaw restricts the aquarium from importing dolphins captured after September 1996. The Coalition For No Whales In Captivity warned the board in April that the aquarium was planning to bring dolphins from Japan. At the April presentation, the board was shown the video of a dolphin drive in Ikki Island, Japan. Chairwoman Laura McDiarmid gave her personal guarantee to Annelise Sorg, director of the Coalition For No Whales In Captivity, that the aquarium would inform the board of any new dolphins it planned to import into Stanley Park well before the arrival of any new animals. This was necessary in order to review documentation and confirm that new dolphins met the bylaw's restrictions.

Park Board Commissioner Roslyn Cassells is outraged at the aquarium's disregard for process: "Bringing a new dolphin into Stanley Park without first advising the commissioners is a flagrant disregard for the wishes of the public and the authority of the Vancouver Park Board."

Send your protest letters to:

Vancouver Park Board Commissioners
Commissioner Roslyn Cassells

Commissioner Laura McDiarmid

Commissioner Duncan Wilson

Commissioner Dianne Ledingham

Commissioner Clarence Hansen

Commissioner Christopher Richardson

Commissioner Alan deGenova

Vancouver Aquarium President and CEO
John Nightingale

The Coalition is unable to hold a demonstration outside the Vancouver Aquarium at this time, but will support any other groups and individuals who wish to stage a protest.

Annelise Sorg, Director
Coalition For No Whales In Captivity

APRIL 13, 2001
Source: Vancouver Sun

The Vancouver Aquarium will reveal to the city's park board what it plans to do with Bjossa's pool at a closed breakfast meeting this Thursday. But the public won't find out about those plans until later this month, after Bjossa has left for SeaWorld San Diego.

Thursday's meeting, which is for park commissioners only, was called after the the board filed a notice of motion requesting assurance from the aquarium that any new marine mammals imported into Stanley park will not result in any wild animals captured to replace them. After the meeting was called, board chairwoman Laura McDiarmid withdrew the notice, saying that it had served its purpose.

"The aquarium heard that we are concerned and want to be informed of what they do." McDiarmid said Monday. This worries opponents of keeping whales in captivity. "I'm suspicious that the aquarium is being allowed to sidestep the public process and handle the issue of captive dolphins in Stanley Park behind closed doors," said Annelise Sorg of the Coalition For No Whales in Captivity.

She is concerned that the aquarium plans to import more dolphins into the facility, and wants it to announce its plans publicly.

The issue was supposed to have been discussed at a board meeting Monday night, but was deleted from the agenda after the aquarium's invitation was made. Aquarium director John Nightingale was out of the country Monday and not available for comment, but vice-president of operations Clint Wright said that on Thursday commissioners will be shown artists' renderings of what the whale pool will look like after it is renovated.

He said the exhibit the aquarium plans for the pool will also be discussed, adding that "at this time there will be no net change in the animals on display." However, he wouldn't rule out the possibility of acquiring more animals in future. Nor would he promise that the animals wouldn't be captured from the wild. "At this time, we have no plans to bring in any animals from the wild. But I can't say that's for good." He said the aquarium will announce publicly its plans for the pool once Bjossa has left for SeaWorld San DIego. The whale's departure is scheduled for between April 21 and 28.

McDiarmid wants assurance from the aquarium that no wild animals will be captured for display and that if Vancouver imports dolphins or porpoises from other aquariums, those facilities won't catch replacement animals in the wild.

"We owe it to the animals to have at least that kind of security. We do not want to be responsible for yet another animal being captured from the wild." She said she would be concerned if the aquarium were planning to bring in any kind of wild mammal for display. "We don't want a zoo anymore."

However, all the aquarium will promise is that it won't capture wild cetaceans (whales and dolphins). It says it is within its right to capture other animals, including other kinds of marine mammals.

Sorg says the aquarium cannot make promises on behalf of other facilities because it doesn't have that kind of influence.

"There is no possibility that the board or the aquarium van go to a dolphinarium in Mexico, in Israel, in the Philippines, anywhere in this world, and tell them not to capture any more animals.

"It's way beyond their jurisdiction, and it's ridiculous to assume that the Vancouver Aquarium will be able to assure the board of such a commitment."