Vancouver Aquarium Exposed for Failing Whales, Dolphins and the Public

Aquariums keeping whales and dolphins in captivity continue to claim their work helps improve education and conservation, and the Vancouver Aquarium is no exception. Now, however, a new film is exposing the myths behind the aquarium’s misleading claims that endanger cataceans.

The film, Vancouver Aquarium Uncovered, focuses on the Vancouver Aquarium, but many of the issues it brings to light extend far beyond the tank walls of this single facility. Director Gary Charbonneau said he became concerned after attending a public hearing on the future captive cetaceans at the aquarium in 2014 and started investigating to find out more.

“What I’ve uncovered is absolutely shocking and sad. Everything we’ve been told about rescue, longevity and saving cetaceans in the wild is horrifically untrue,” he said.

The film highlights how the public has been misled to believe the aquarium supports conservation and education, when it clearly doesn’t.

The film touches on other serious problems in industry, including conflicts of interest among accrediting organizations and Vancouver Park Board members who are tasked with overseeing the aquarium; the aquarium’s ties to the brutal dolphin drives in Taiji; and the Georgia Aquarium’s attempt to import wild belugas from Russia, despite pledging not to take cetaceans from the wild.

Still more issues arise when finances are examined. Despite bringing in millions in revenue through both donors and government funding, the way the aquarium is spending money is shocking and incredibly disappointing — especially when it comes to its marine mammal rescue center, which many people, including the film’s director, are in support of expanding.

“We’re actually pushing for the aquarium to expand the marine mammal rescue center and fund it,” Charbonneau said in an interview with Roundhouse Radio. “Vancouver really needs an innovative marine mammal rescue center, and a science center as well with proper education and we don’t have that right now.”

You can watch the entire film for free at Vancouver Aquarium Uncovered.

Hopefully the film will motivate people to push Vancouver Aquarium to make changes that benefit marine mammals, rather than exploit them for profit. People who want to take action can also support legislation that would improve the lives of cetaceans in Canada.

The Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act will effectively phase out captive whales and dolphins by banning captive breeding, imports, exports and live captures of all whales, dolphins and porpoises, with exceptions for situations involving the rescue of injured animals.

Help Empty the Tanks in Canada

To see the film and find upcoming screenings, check out Vancouver Aquarium Uncovered and show your support by becoming a fan on Facebook.

Please also sign and share the petition urging Canadian lawmakers to end whale and dolphin captivity for good.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Philippa Powers
Philippa Powersabout a year ago


Pat P.
Pat Pabout a year ago

How did this world breed so many greedy sadistic human sociopaths?!

Compassionate animal lovers have a tough fight, ahead. With our dreadful new U.S. administration (terrible for the environment and wild/domestic/marine life) and some reprehensible congressional politicians, it will be a much bigger struggle, but these helpless animals need us!

If only more aquariums had the foresight and thougtfulness of the one in Baltimore to send their marine mammals to sanctuaries!

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus1 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Elisabeth Hansson
Elisabeth H1 years ago

Have already signed, tyfs

Kathryn Irby
Past Member 1 years ago

Petition signed! Thanks!

Mona Pietsch
Mona Pietsch1 years ago

Petition signed

Kathryn Irby
Past Member 2 years ago

The Vancouver Aquarium should be shut down permanently! Petition signed--again! Thanks for posting.

Kathryn Irby
Past Member 2 years ago

Petition signed! Thanks!

Monica R.
Monica R2 years ago

Petition already signed. Shut down aquariums!

Christine Stewart

poor animals