Canada selected to be the official site for a captive whale sanctuary

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Canada will soon be the new home of a captive whale sanctuary that will allow rescued whales to live the remainder of their lives in peace.

The U.S.-based conservation group, The Whale Sanctuary Project, has chosen a site on the eastern shore of Nova Scotia to build the "retirement home" for the aquatic entertainers. These creatures had been raised in captivity their whole lives and were forced to entertain hundreds of thousands of people at the expense of their mental and physical health.

Belugas and orcas that were once trapped in aquariums will now have a chance at true freedom. The whale sanctuary will be the first of its kind in North America and located far from where the whales had been previously kept.

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Currently, The Whale Sanctuary Project has eight whales it aims to relocate to a 40-hectare inlet southeast of Sherbrooke, N.S. Charles Vinick, the non-profit's director, says they plan to protect the whales by installing nets to enclose the inlet.

This will allow the whales to swim freely and dive deeply in Atlantic waters, but still be close enough so that they can resurface to receive care from humans any time they need it.

There are still some pending provincial and federal permits that the project needs to obtain, but they hope to get things up and running by late 2021. The project will cost approximately $12 to $15 million.

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The move is a step forward for animal rights; however, in the case of captive whales, there is still more work to be done. As many as 300 belugas and 60 orcas remain in captivity in aquariums worldwide, and they are still being forced to work as entertainers.

Camille Labchuk, the executive director of Animal Justice, has worked to apply public pressure on the House of Commons to ban the captivity of whales, dolphins, and porpoises in captivity. The hope is that soon, other countries will follow suit and implement their own bans to prioritize the well-being of the marine mammals.

Photo by Pexels

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