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Whales are the great symbol and reality of a healthy ocean.
As such, they capture our imagination and engage us directly in their vitality and conservation. There are myriad whale-related issues is discussion today: This latter has been further stimulated by the recent death of several Orca whales in such places and the growing controversy over the morality of their captivity and exploitation.
The legislation is very specific, expanding the definition of cetacean to include whales, dolphins, and porpoises, extending the offense to anyone who owns, has the custody of, or controls a cetacean in captivity, or breeds a cetacean, or possesses or seeks to obtain reproductive materials of cetaceans, including sperm and embryo.
It excepts ownership of cetaceans already in captivity or in care or rehabilitation from injury or other distress.
Recently, in the United States, a California Congressman, Adam Schiff, announced his intention to introduce federal legislation with comparable intent, specifically to phase out Orca whales from aquatic parks by prohibiting the future taking of animals from the wild or breeding in captivity for the purpose of public display.
For myself, I once had the privilege of travelling to Hudson Bay in Canada where, near Churchill, each year thousands of Beluga whales congregate to breed and nurture their young.
The sight from the air is extraordinary, with animals everywhere. Better still was the experience in a tired rubber outboard with a local native guide and a boom box with a microphone on a wire trailing behind and amplifying the underwater chatter and song. As we motored quietly along, the whales swam up alongside, resting their heads on the pontoon, their flanks to be stroked, their faces innocent with that Beluga smile, and their eyes bright with a vitality that explains the anthropomorphic identification between such animals and indigenous peoples who live among them.
I confess I was the one captivated. In that single encounter, my access to the marine world opened directly, a clear vision that was for me formative and unforgettable.
Call me emotional, but, from that day, I have worn a pewter pin of a Beluga whale on my vest as an evocation of that connection between brothers. Impossible I suppose, but I would want anyone and everyone to have shared that experience of a whale in the wild, and free.
Tricks, in captivity, do not serve. Surely, yes, without a privileged trip to Hudson Bay, there must be a way to communicate the grace and intelligence of cetaceans to a wider audience without trivializing their behavior or denying their natural lives.
We will discuss these issues, and more, in future editions of World Ocean Radio.
There are many whale-related hot button topics being discussed today: World Ocean Radio, a project of the World Ocean Observatory, is a weekly series of five-minute audio essays available for syndicated use at no cost by college and community radio stations worldwide.
For more information, visit WorldOceanObservatory. Through long-standing animal care and research relationships with other institutions across the nation, Mystic Aquarium has been selected to house belugas from other leading facilities for various reasons, including breeding initiatives, exhibit renovations and research.
Login or register to post comments.Killer whales (Orcinus orca) were first placed into captivity in and are now found in theme parks around the world. Despite successful breeding of captive killer whales since there is growing concern for their welfare in captivity, which often includes claims of poor survival.
Recently, in the United States, a California Congressman, Adam Schiff, announced his intention to introduce The Orca Act, federal legislation with comparable intent, specifically to phase out Orca whales from aquatic parks by prohibiting the future taking of animals from the wild or breeding in captivity for the purpose of public display.
Rep. Rick Larsen, D-WA, is again cosponsoring the Orca Responsibility and Care Advancement Act, a bill aimed at ending the captivity of orca whales. The ORCA Act would permanently end orca captivity across the United States and prohibit orca breeding, the wild capture of orcas, and the import or.
Future Unclear for SeaWorld After Breeding Ban After the California Coastal Commission ordered SeaWorld San Diego to stop breeding orca whales in captivity, questions loom over the park's future.
This may be the future for whales and dolphins currently in captivity, a future which has the potential to address many of the threats to whale and dolphin welfare . More than 2, dolphins and whales are being held in captivity at facilities in 63 countries around the world, with the highest numbers of dolphinariums located in Japan (57), China (44), the United States (34), Russia (24), and Mexico (24), according to the Born Free Foundation..
This week, a vote on a California bill that would ban orca captivity was delayed by 18 months, pending an.