Canada, Manitoba, Churchill, Underwater view of young Beluga Whale calf swimming with mother and pod near mouth of Hudson Bay. Photo Credit: Paul Souders/Getty ImagesAnimals Canada
Say Hello to the First Whale Sanctuary in This Region
Nova Scotia, Canada will be home to the first North American wild refuge for whales that used to be captive in marine parks, so the large mammals can finally be seen swimming freely in their natural environment.
“It’s a milestone,” says Charles Vinick, executive director of the Whale Sanctuary Project. “This really does show people that we are here, and we’ll be cutting the ribbon to show this is in fact our home, here in Nova Scotia.”
The 40-hectare coastal sanctuary will be 300 times larger than the biggest water tank in any marine park. The first whales are expected in September 2023, and up to 8 beluga whales could be accommodated. Some $20 million needs to be raised for the construction of a veterinary clinic and an interpretation center close to the refuge, and an additional $2 million a year will be required to operate the sanctuary. In 2015, Ontario banned the buying, selling, and breeding of orcas, and in 2019, the federal government made it illegal to breed or hold in captivity whales, dolphins, and porpoises. The Sea Life Trust, the world’s first sanctuary for whales, opened in Iceland in 2019.