First Whale Sanctuary in North America to Open in 2023
The plans for a sanctuary came after Canada passed the Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act, which prevents whales and dolphins from being held in captivity, particularly for entertainment.
Beluga whales are highly intelligent, social creatures who do not do well in the small, confined spaces they are assigned to at aquariums and marine parks. Whale Sanctuary Project / YouTube
A new sanctuary for whales is coming to North America. In Nova Scotia, The Whale Sanctuary Project recently celebrated opening day for the Operations Centre for the nonprofit’s upcoming whale sanctuary, which will be the first of its kind in North America.
The sanctuary is planned for Port Hilford Bay in Nova Scotia and will include 110 acres of habitat for the whales. This amount of space will be ideal for about eight whales. The organization wanted to find a spot that would offer plenty of interesting and enriching surroundings for the whales and other wildlife.
An outline of the whale sanctuary planned for Port Hilford Bay in Nova Scotia. Whale Sanctuary Project / YouTube
“The 110 acres that will be the whales’ home need to be in an environment that’s interesting, varied and enriching, safe and healthy both for them and for all the other living creatures who inhabit the bay,” The Whale Sanctuary Project said in an earlier press release. “For example, it should be deep in some places and shallow in others; with a sandy sea floor in some parts and a variable sea floor in others – rich in plant and animal life and basically a place the whales can truly call home.”
The planned sanctuary will be positioned about a 20-minute drive from the newly opened Operations Centre, which also doubles as an educational visitors center.
“Visitors will be able to watch interactive video displays to learn about the sanctuary,” the nonprofit said. “They can learn about whales in general, and about whales in captivity and how their lives will be changed when they are retired to the natural environment of a sanctuary.”
The Whale Sanctuary Project has been working closely with locals, including the Mi’kmaq Nation, those who live in the nearby communities, local fishermen, and the government to create this conservation space for whales.
The plans for a sanctuary came after Canada passed the Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act, which prevents whales and dolphins from being held in captivity, particularly for entertainment. Currently, there are over 220 beluga whales and 53 orca whales held in captivity worldwide. These animals are highly intelligent, social creatures who do not do well in the small, confined spaces they are assigned to at aquariums and marine parks. Whales in captivity may become more aggressive or fall more susceptible to illness and higher risk of early death.
The sanctuary will provide a safe, spacious habitat for whales who are rescued from captivity. The organization is looking to raise $20 million for the sanctuary, which it hopes to open in 2023.
Whales Without Walls — Re-release of the original, including views of the actual sanctuary site.
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