Baby whale fathered by Vancouver Aquarium beluga dies at SeaWorld in San Antonio

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      A beluga whale whose father is owned by the Vancouver Aquarium has died at a SeaWorld facility in San Antonia, Texas.

      The calf was just three weeks old. According to Texas media reports, the animal was born prematurely and caretakers warned it was not gaining weight as quickly as expected. It died over the weekend of July 10.

      According to KCEN TV (an NBC affiliate), the deceased whale was sired by a beluga named Imaq. Imaq is owned by the Vancouver Aquarium but was sent to Texas in 2011.

      It was not immediately clear who owned the deceased animal.

      According to a July 2014 park board report, the Vancouver Aquarium owns eight beluga whales. Two are kept in Vancouver, four are housed at Sea World facilities in the United States, and two are on loan to the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta. At least some of those animals housed in American aquariums are there on breeding loans. The terms of those arrangements can see the ownership of calves fathered by Vancouver Aquarium whales alternate between the Vancouver Aquarium and the American facility that housed the animal during the period of conception.

      "When animals are sent from the Vancouver Aquarium to another institution," reads the park board report, "the breeding loan agreement specifies who will have ownership of the offspring. Generally, every other offspring will go to each of the facilities involved."

      Two cetaceans owned by the Vancouver Aquarium passed away earlier this year.

      On February 19, a beluga whale named Nanuq died while on loan to a SeaWorld facility in Orlando, Florida.

      And on May 24, a dolphin named Hana—one of only two dolphins the Vancouver Aquarium holds in captivity—passed away shortly after undergoing bowel surgery at the facility in Stanley Park.

      A Vancouver Aquarium whale named Nanuq passed away in February 2015 while on loan to a SeaWorld aquarium in Orlando, Florida.
      SeaWorld Orlando

      The Straight reached out to the Vancouver Aquarium for information about the beluga whale that died in San Antonio over the July 10 weekend. Repeated messages left via email and telephone were not returned.

      Comments

      6 Comments

      Barry William Teske

      Jul 14, 2015 at 10:24pm

      Collectively we are all responsible for the horrible death of this sentient creature.
      A hospital would never allow a premature baby to be transported until such a hardship could be accomplished beyond a reasonable doubt.
      Ownership of these creatures is no less than slavery and no better than genocide.
      Yet because animals do not look like us we take it upon ourselves to 'play' as a God.
      Maybe we better learn how to stop 'acting' like a devil first.

      Richard S.

      Jul 15, 2015 at 8:40am

      This "breeding loan agreement" of the Vancouver Aquarium's is yet one more instance of the heinous aspects of it's continued trafficking of whales. Thanks to decades of scientific knowledge, we now have a much more sophisticated knowledge of the culture, society and intelligence of whales and to allow for this continued treatment is nothing short of cruel and inhumane treatment, full stop. How anyone - especially the Vancouver Parks Board - can aid and abet this type of cruelty is mind-boggling. But then again, it's all about the money - especially for the Vancouver Aquarium and especially for this new Vancouver Parks Board.

      Freddy Jakobovich

      Jul 15, 2015 at 10:23am

      Kind of curious to seek comment from the Vancouver Aquarium even when the article itself states that the animal died in Texas. I also find it rather brazen when people begin anthropomorphizing an animal and compare them to humans, it begats a slippery slope argument and is followed quickly by circular logic.

      Emma L.

      Jul 16, 2015 at 4:10pm

      Enough is enough! This is cruelty under the guise of 'conservation' and 'education'. But captivity does NOTHING to protect wild whale and dolphin populations and it does NOTHING to educate the public. If it was successful in doing either, we wouldn't have lost half of the world's wildlife in the last 40 years. Keeping intelligent, social and emotional beings in a barren environment - a tiny fraction of the size of their natural habitat is simply wrong and cruel. Worse yet, the Vancouver Aquarium accepts funds from and partners with the same companies and industries responsible for destroying the natural habitat of these and other species, leaving them unwilling to do genuine conservation work, should it threaten the funds they need to continue their exploitation of these animals. Vancouver Aquarium partners with SeaWorld - loaning their whales out for breeding purposes and flying them around the U.S. to help build up captive numbers, all the while publicly denying that they have any sort of breeding program taking place. Does this sound like conservation? The aquarium says it doesn't capture wild animals anymore either, but what about their support for the Georgia Aquarium's 2012 application to import 18 belugas previously captured from the wild off the coast of Russia, for the explicit purpose of expanding a cross-continent breeding program run by aquariums. Vancouver Aquarium would have profited from this arrangement had it been permitted, all the while being able to continue to tell half truths when they say THEY don't perform wild captures (just someone else does it for them!).
      Seriously, enough is enough. It's time to empty the tanks and have the aquarium step up and do genuine conservation and education work that does not involve captivity and exploitation! THAT is the type of work I would support.

      Hilly

      Jul 17, 2015 at 8:53am

      No one owns them. They are sentient beings, and they are slaves to humans. Stop breeding!! Start looking into other options for the ones who exist in captivity .. Enough is enough

      L. Lemieux

      Jul 17, 2015 at 3:59pm

      the UK has had around 30 aquariums and dolphinariums back in the 1970s. By 1993 they had all been closed down or phased out and they've held no cetaceans in captivity since. Yet theve kept y'll organized cetacean rescue initiatives across the country and public support of marine conservations initiatives is high. Clear the UK didn't "need" captives to support these things. And neither does Canada. No whale jails please.