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Vancouver bans whales and dolphins in captivity at aquarium

Whales and dolphins will no longer be able to be held in captivity at the Vancouver Aquarium after the city’s Park Board agreed on Monday to ban bringing in new cetaceans. The ban includes injured or rescued whales and dolphins. 

The aquarium is located in Vancouver’s Stanley Park which is run by the Board. It currently holds a false killer whale, pacific white-sided dolphin and a harbour porpoise which can remain there but no longer appear in performances.

There has been a long-running debate over whether the aquarium should continue to keep captive whales and dolphins which came to a head in November after the sudden death of two beluga whales, a mother and calf, caused by a toxin whose origin could not be determined. The aquarium had been hoping to extend its beluga exhibit and bring more whales before phasing it out in 2029. 

The aquarium has said it will fight the latest decision. It can still treat wildlife at its rescue centre, which is not located on Park Board land.