Death of Vancouver Aquarium dolphin refuels debate over freeing cetaceans

Hana, one of two Pacific white-sided dolphins living at the Vancouver Aquarium, died this week of a gastrointestinal illness, despite a desperate attempt to save her live with first-of-its-kind surgery.

The female dolphin was diagnosed with gastrointestinal distention and inflammation after she showed erratic behaviour last Monday. Surgery was performed on her on Thursday, but it wasn’t enough to save her life.

The Vancouver Aquarium has said that the illness that killed Hana is common among animals both in professional care and in the wild, but former Vancouver Parks Board Commissioner Sarah Blyth believes her death is an example of the harmful consequences of keeping cetaceans in captivity.

“There’s simply not enough room for them, they’re not living well, they’re not living their whole lifespan, and they’re not living in freedom,” she said, regarding the death of the dolphin, who lived only half of her expected lifespan. “It’s unfair for us to be putting these  intelligent creatures into captivity for their whole lives.”

Read the full story here.


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