Letter to the Editor: Springer Celebration, did we learn anything?

Dear Editor,

It is good news that the reuniting of a young orca with her family proved that scientific biases and aquarium propaganda promoting captivity were incorrect. Wildlife has innate, inherent instincts. Lucky for Springer that the international rescue team had their plans and not a proposal by the Vancouver Aquarium. They wanted to have Springer moved from the Washington State rehabilitation sea pen to a sea pen at their research station near Vancouver instead of back to her home waters up north. Her family travels near Telegraph Cove where she immediately reunited with them.

However, the bad news is that the threats to the survival of orcas and others continue. The three major risks to the survival of orcas is boat traffic, lack of food, and pollution. Boat traffic interrupts foraging and lifestyles. It can also cause severe to fatal injuries.

There are many actions to be taken but the following actions need to be immediately implemented:

1. DFO has failed to provide safe boat distances from orcas in their proposed new Marine Mammal Regulations. They want to keep the harmful 100 meters distance when the US has regulated distances of up to 400 meters. They will increase it to 200 meters for 800 belugas in the St. Lawrence River but not for the 78 Southern Resident Orcas and others on the West Coast.

There must be equal laws! Endangered transboundary species need equal, legal protection in both countries.

Lifeforce has started the following petition:

https://www.change.org/p/dominic-leblanc-minister-of-fisheries-oceans-and-canadian-coast-guard-dominic-leblanc-parl-gc-ca-equal-laws-to-protect-west-coast-endangered-orcas?recruiter=2841661&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=share_email_responsive

2. Moratoriums must be put on fisheries and there needs to be more habitat restoration in order to recover salmon essential for the orcas’ survival.

3. Captivity of cetaceans must end!

The Vancouver Aquarium is threatening legal action to overturn the Vancouver Parks Board’s Bylaw that now bans cetaceans. The Senate action to ban cetacean captivity in Canada must be supported.

The Vancouver Aquarium stated the orca slave trade in 1964 when they tried to harpoon an orca to use as a model for a sculpture. That led numerous aquariums capturing 68 orcas with others drowning during the brutal captures. They removed a generation of young orcas that continues to create an abnormal age and sex ratio. There have been 53 cetacean deaths in 53 years as a result of the Vancouver Aquarium pro captivity business.

The Vancouver Aquarium’s John Nightingale recently told CBC that he supports all cetacean captivity and that still includes orca captivity.

Peter Hamilton

Comox

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