Aquarium Expansion – Yea or Nay?

The Vancouver Aquarium is interested in an $80 million, 50% expansion and wants to hear what you have to say about it!. Great tourist attraction? Great educational tool? Great jailer of non-cuddly animals? Great Scott! The CBC reports that this expansion will entail

  • The loss of more than 30 trees
  • bigger pools
  • more research space
  • more animals
  • up to 8 beluga whales
  • up to eight white-sided dolphins
  • new beavers, as well as a lot of new fish,

and much, much more!

The article goes on to quote Dr. John Nightingale, Aquarium President, as saying that

“We know we hear from an activist negative side quite frequently, and we hear from the aquarium supporters. . . . What we want to find out is, what do all those people in the middle who don’t often speak up, what do they think?”

I’ve always had a problem with the idea of putting huge ocean creatures into comparitively tiny tanks under the guise of “research” or “education for the children”. I highly doubt that the tiger in a cage behaves anything like the tiger in the jungle, so why waste money and the lives of perfectly free creatures by stuffing them into Zoos and Aquariums for us slack-jawed Vancouverites to visually prod and examine?

But I guess that opinion would be a “negative activist” one…

So what do you think?

Discliamer: I eat meat.

6 Comments so far

  1. Jeffery Simpson (unregistered) on September 22nd, 2006 @ 11:11 am

    I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I’m for it. Zoos do a lot of species conservation, and a number of species have been kept from going extinct because of zoological societies, zoos and aquariums.

    I do think there is something important for people to be able to see these creatures, whether whales, lions, tigers or what have you, up close and personal. For getting people interested in wild life habitat conservation it’s far more effective if you can actually see one as opposed to just know that somewhere on the other side of the world these animals exist.


  2. eric (unregistered) on September 22nd, 2006 @ 7:07 pm

    I’d be for it if it meant much bigger tanks for the dolphins and belugas. The tanks are ridiculously small right now.


  3. Kristina (unregistered) on September 23rd, 2006 @ 8:56 pm

    I agree and disagree on this idea. i think the good thing about this is that the animals who live there will have a better home and also intract with more animals. The aqurium will definetely be a major attraction during the 2010 winter games. I think the bad thing about this is that one of the trees that is going to be cut down is a tree that’s more than 200 years old! this new expansion is going to destroy 0.6 hectared of land to stanley park.
    I just think the vancouver park board should rethink about this expansion idea.

    Thank you


  4. yongsa (unregistered) on September 25th, 2006 @ 9:57 am

    Growing up, one of the best experiences with environmentalism, nature and social responsibility was through the Vancouver aquarium. It was the place where I learned to not throw stuff down the drain because it killed fish and whales. It was the place where I learned to pick up trash in the forest because ducks will get caught in the “six pack” rings.

    Any organization that goes out of their way to educate young people about environmental stewardship while at the same time, maintaining a budget that is mostly funded by private donations deserves as much support as we can give it.

    You can talk about a few trees being cut down, or more dolphins in the aquarium, but we must also talk about how many thousands of animals have been saved by the aquarium. These stories are Never ever mentioned by those who oppose the aquarium. Give equal time to both sides and you will realize that the benefits to young people and nature as a whole far outweigh the price.


  5. Lola (unregistered) on September 28th, 2006 @ 6:52 pm

    Actually, the 200 year old tree being cut down was a mistake in reporting. Both times it has been reported, the newspapers have retracted it. There was never any intention to cut that tree down. As far as the 32 trees which will be removed, the Aquarium has said that it will replant them two to one. They want more trees around the facility, as they’re attractive and help it blend into the park.

    In terms of the whales, the Aquarium has always said that the ideal family group is 6-8 individuals, and the expansion doesn’t change that.

    As far as animals in captivity not being the same as animals in the wild, are you trying to say that their basic biology is altered? It was research at the Aquarium that caused Norway to reduce their whaling quotas by over 200 a year, and that’s just one instance. I can’t think of any other organization in Vancouver that does quite as much in terms of conservation and education.


  6. Hikaru (unregistered) on October 11th, 2006 @ 8:47 am

    Research done at the aquarium can only be done in a captive enviornment. For example, researching the metabolism of steller sea lions, which has unlocked why the Alaskan population has decreased by 85% in the last 20 years. They have also determined how belugas learn their language. Soon they will start research to develop new fishing nets which will reduce the number of dolphins being accidently caught.

    I’m all for the expansion. The current facility becomes so crowded, it’s ridiculous. There are not enough washrooms, not enough tables to eat and no room to move. It HAS to be made larger.



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