Video: Aquarium CEO likens transfer of Bjossa to trading Wayne Gretzky
Last weekend, Vancouver Aquarium CEO John Nightingale said that his facility tried without success to buy an orca in the late 1990s.
This came after Bjossa's partner, Finna, died in 1997.
"When the male killer whale died, we spent a year trying to find a companion for Bjossa, and we couldn't anywhere in the world," Nightingale said at a July 26 special park board meeting on captivity of cetaceans. "We would have tried to buy one if we could."
The comment arose in a question-and-answer session with Vision Vancouver commissioner Aaron Japser. (See video above.)
Nightingale said that Russians weren't capturing wild orcas at that time, so there weren't any killer whales available.
That was aside from finding one that met the park board's criteria that no whales captured from the wild could be imported into Stanley Park.
Nightingale acknowledged that Vancouverites remain opposed to whales from the wild being brought to the aquarium.
"They don't feel any more positive about going out and capturing live cetaceans today than they did then," he said.
Because orcas are a "social species", Nightingale said that the aquarium had no alternative but to transfer Bjossa to another facility because she was left alone.
"It was kind of like trading away Wayne Gretzky," NIghtingale said.
Bjossa died at SeaWorld in San Diego in 2001.