Newsletter, April 2017

Matching Grant for site selection … Next steps in site selection … Important news from Canada … and more. This is a copy of the April, 2017 newsletter as sent to all subscribers. To subscribe, just fill in your email address in the box to the right.

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Hello Everyone,
Thank you so much for subscribing to The Whale Sanctuary Project newsletter. Here’s some of what’s been happening over the last month:

Matching Grant for Site Selection

Great news! Our major sponsor, the Munchkin Corporation, has pledged a matching grant so we can complete site selection by the end of this year. Munchkin (best place anywhere for babies’ and children’s products) will match every donation up to $300,000.

Munchkin CEO Steven Dunn says he wants to encourage as many people as possible to join this pioneering effort, so your donation, large or small, will be worth twice as much to the Whale Sanctuary Project.

And check out this video, from People magazine online, where Steven talks about when he had an MRI and realized that being confined in the very small, noisy space of the scanner must be similar to what orcas at marine parks experience for their entire lives.

Next Steps in Site Selection

Over the next couple of months, we’ll be visiting several locations in Washington State and British Columbia. And then a team of experts will be visiting the three or four top contenders with special equipment that can measure things like depth, water volume, tidal range, tidal flows, water temperature at mid-depth, water turnover over several days, salinity and other key issues.

We’ll also be involved in all the necessary regulatory, legal and local discussions. And by end of year, we expect to have selected the site for the creation of the first North American seaside whale sanctuary.

Will Canada End Captivity for Whales?

The Canadian Senate has been holding a series of hearings to consider a bill (Bill S-203 – “Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act”) that would make it a criminal offense to breed, import/export, and display healthy dolphins and whales, with exceptions for rescues of injured/ill animals and sanctuaries.

The Senate Committee on Fisheries & Oceans invited Whale Sanctuary Project president Lori Marino to testify, along with several members of our advisory group. The first hearing is available on video here, and a transcript is here.

. . . Meanwhile, in Vancouver

After a lengthy, emotional debate that spanned two nights and involved more than 60 speakers, the Vancouver Park Board voted unanimously to end the display of live whales and dolphins at the Vancouver Aquarium. More details and an excerpt from one of the testimonies, are here.

This progressive decision shows that the public is ready to move on to a future where dolphins and whales are afforded the respect they deserve.

Facebook Q&A

Dr. Marino conducted a second Q&A session on Facebook, answering questions about site selection and the science of whale and dolphin care. One of the Q&A exchanges was about the fact that cetaceans are cognitively complex, autonomous beings with advanced communication skills. The questioner asked whether plans for the sanctuary will take this into account and enable the residents to exercise their autonomy.

Dr. Marino responded: “The whole premise of an authentic sanctuary is to provide a setting that optimizes the autonomy and richness of the residents’ lives. While there will still be routines the residents will need to follow so we can ensure they are feeding properly and are healthy, everything else about the sanctuary will be designed to give them a choice about how they want to spend their days.”

Thank You, Thank You!

Your donation, large or small, makes it all possible and will be worth twice as much, thanks to the matching grant from Munchkin, Inc.

Michael Mountain
Member Communications.

P.S. For daily updates, visit The Whale Sanctuary Project on Facebook and Twitter.