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Metro Vancouver’s Only Two Animal Attractions Are Being Investigated For Animal Cruelty

vancouver aquarium zoo

The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) has filed complaints with the B.C. SPCA regarding both the Vancouver Aquarium and the Greater Vancouver Zoo.

According to the VHS, animal advocates have decried conditions at both facilities for years.

RELATED: Stanley Park Once Had A Zoo And Here’s What It Was Like

In an opinion piece published on the Daily Hive, a representative for the VHS, compared the lives of wild hippos in Africa to those of two hippos currently kept at the Greater Vancouver Zoo.

Wild hippos typically spend their days in large social groups, basking in the sun and floating in the water, in Africa.

The hippos at the Vancouver Zoo experience different settings. There are only two of them and they have been separated for years. This was done by the zoo, reportedly for their protection. 

Their enclosure does not mimic their natural habitat, says the VHS. 

Nadja Wielebnowski, a behavioral endocrinologist at Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo, notes that “In zoos, we are most concerned with chronic stress, when animals are repeatedly exposed to negative stressors and are not able to respond appropriately. Prolonged negative stress can become physically harmful.”

A video edited by the VHS shows animals in Vancouver attractions exhibiting behaviors associated with stress.

In another example, the VHS touches on giraffes.

“Consider that a giraffe’s natural habitat ranges from the size of Stanley park to the size of Vancouver, Burnaby, Richmond, and Surrey combined,” says Pickett. “The giraffe enclosure at the Greater Vancouver Zoo is thousands of times smaller than their natural roaming distance.”

Save The Whales

Many concerned with the stress endured by captive animals remember the story of Hugo the whale, who repeatedly banged his head against the glass wall of his enclosure, suffered a brain aneurysm and died. Some animal rights campaigners called it suicide and Hugo’s body was disposed of unceremoniously via dump truck.

The behavior has been exhibited by other captive whales

There was much debate in Vancouver over the ethics of keeping whales specifically that the Vancouver aquarium no longer keeps them, despite the Aquarium CEO saying that the public enjoyed captive whale watching.

Just under half of British Columbians support keeping animals in captivity for entertainment. 

While 89% do not agree with trading wild animals for the purposes of entertainment. 

The VHS is petitioning the B.C. government to mandate welfare improvements in the province. 

Half of B.C. is okay with keeping domestic species in zoos, but less agree we should traffic in wild animals. What do you think?


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