Tiqa probably won't be the last beluga to die in captivity at Vancouver aquarium

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      Unfortunately, Tiqa never got to chase after fish in the deep blue sea.

      Born on June 10, 2008, the three-year-old beluga whale died at 5:45 a.m. this morning (September 16) in the Vancouver aquarium.

      The cause of death was not immediately disclosed, but a press conference was scheduled for this afternoon.

      (Update [5:51 p.m.]: The Vancouver aquarium has said that Tiqa died of pneumonia.)

      Tiqa got her name after the aquarium held a contest that drew thousands of entries.

      It's the second time in as many years that a beluga has died at the aquarium.

      After the calf Nala died in June 2010, the Vancouver park board debated but ultimately rejected a proposal from Green commissioner Stuart Mackinnon to hold a citywide plebiscite on cetaceans in captivity.

      According to a list of known aquarium deaths provided by Lifeforce Foundation founder Peter Hamilton, Tiqa is at least the eighth beluga to die in captivity at the Vancouver institution. The others were named Bella, Tuaq, Lugosi, Sanaq, Churchill, and Tuvaq.

      Unless keeping whales in captivity is banned in Vancouver, the list is almost certain to grow.

      Tiqa at about six months old.

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      Sep 16, 2011 at 4:08pm

      There is scientific value to keeping them in captivity, and giving the public a chance to see these animals increases the likelihood they will care more about their conservation in the wild... But I think it is overshadowed by the ethical problem of keeping such intelligent and social creatures in cages. They are simply too smart to morally keep captive.

      Not to mention, in the wild whales can swim hundreds of kilometers in a day... No matter how big your tank is, it's not going to be nearly large enough not to feel like a tiny prison.

      Mike H

      Sep 17, 2011 at 7:35am

      From what I know the whales and dolphins at the Vancouver aquarium are rescues that were saved from one condition or another and probably couldn't survive in the wild. The wales especially have been there for decades from what I understand. I don't agree with them keeping on breeding the wales though because that has just lead to a dead whale every time.
      I think it would be best to keep the ones they have because releasing them could do more harm then good but don't try to replace whales you think might be on their way out by breeding new ones into captivity because that's wrong.