There are now more than 300 captive beluga whales and 60 orcas living out their days in aquariums and entertainment parks around the world. Now they have a place to go for their golden years.
The Whale Sanctuary Project, based in Utah, just announced it is creating a virtual whale retirement home in 100 acres of a sheltered bay in Port Hilford, about 125 miles north of Halifax in Nova Scotia. It says it should be ready for the first whales by the end of 2021, and the whale retirement community will be safe with a meal plan that’s heavy on fish.
“Whales and dolphins are highly intelligent, emotional sensitive and socially complex animals,” said Dr. Lori Marino, president of the Project. “In the confines of a concrete tank at a marine park they suffer chronic stress and then often fatal illness. Relocating them to an ocean environment will give them a healthier life where they can thrive.”
The selection of the Port Hilford area came after the Canadian Parliament passed a law aimed at ending the captivity of whales and dolphins there. The Project will run a net along the mouth of the inlet at Port Hilford, giving the animals about 100 acres of secure waters to approximate an environment as close as possible to their native habitat.
“Their quality of life can be a whole lot better than it is in the entertainment parks,” Dr. Marino said. “They don’t have the survival skills to just be dumped back on the ocean.”
Plans call for a visitors’ center, nature trails and viewing areas along the shore. The Project will work with schools and museums to create educational programs there. Read more: