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B.C. Site May Become World’s First ‘Retirement Home’ For Captive Whales

Mike Johnston/ Flickr

The Whale Sanctuary Project/ Facebook
The Whale Sanctuary Project/ Facebook

You read that right. A U.S-based whale advocate is hoping to find a location in British Columbia for a whale retirement home.

Lori Marino, the president of The Whale Sanctuary Project, plans to bring orcas and belugas “Back to Nature” by retiring previously captive whales in a large, closed-off ocean area. The space will allow for the whales to “experience the natural rhythyms of the ocean,” according to Marino. 

RELATED: Qila The Beluga Whale Passes Away At The Vancouver Aquarium

Site plans include the isolation of a 26-hectare section of the ocean with the use of netting to block off a deep area that will allow for diving room. This area may be a cove, inlet or bay, and will not feel like a cage since the whales will have ocean communication. The retirement home will also have a facility on land with staff to feed and care for the mammals.

The Whale Sanctuary Project is considering 30 sites in B.C., but hopes to narrow the search down to five or six with help from locals.

“If there’s anyone out there who has property, coastal property that meets the criteria, and they want to have a whale sanctuary in their backyard, give me a call,” Marino told CBC News, adding that the project will pay for the right piece of property. The ideal space should be around 25 hectares, with a required depth of 15-20 metres in half of the area so that whales can dive “for the first time in their lives,” says Marino.

If you have any feedback or wish to submit a proposed site option, you can visit The Whale Sanctuary’s website.

Marino hopes the Vancouver Aquarium jumps on board with the project, as their education and involvement would do wonders for the planned whale retirement home.

Just over two weeks ago, Aurora, the last remaining beluga at the Vancouver Aquarium, died due to an unknown sickness. A whale retirement home in B.C. could help prevent such things from happening in the future.

The Whale Sanctuary Project has also looked at sites in Nova Scotia and Washington State.

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