SeaWorld's Statement on Vancouver Aquarium's Announcement

February 20, 2017 

The Vancouver Aquarium made a significant announcement today about their beluga whale program, including the important research and conservation work they have done to protect this vulnerable species.  

Many people may not know much about beluga whales, other than they recognize them when they see them. A leading example of why we need to educate people is the beluga whale population in the St. Lawrence Seaway, the waterway that connects the Great Lakes to our oceans. Although belugas worldwide are not endangered, there are three isolated populations of beluga whales that are critically endangered because of human activities such as noise, pollution, shipping vessel traffic, and industrial activity that cause disease, reduce habitat quality and contaminate the food supply. The beluga population in the St. Lawrence Estuary is now at about 800 whales and annually decreasing by an estimated 1-1.5 percent. You can learn more about SeaWorld’s efforts here.

As a committed partner and an industry leader in protecting wildlife, we wanted to take a moment to comment about The Vancouver Aquarium’s decision, as well as applaud them for taking vitals steps in continuing their efforts to protect this species.  

Here’s a note from SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment veterinarian and Chief Zoological Office Dr. Chris Dold: 

Today, our friends and colleagues at the Vancouver Aquarium announced their bold plan to expand their beluga whale habitats allowing them to continue to inspire society to care for nature for the next decade. They have also reaffirmed and even expanded their commitment to beluga whale conservation programs, including an expanded focus on research and engaging visitors in the critical issues that wild beluga whales are facing.

In doing so they will deliver to Vancouver, Canada, and the world, the incredible mix of critical conservation research, education and inspiration that is so necessary in our ever-changing world.

Today, zoological professionals at the Vancouver Aquarium, SeaWorld, the Shedd Aquarium, The Georgia Aquarium, and other accredited aquariums and zoos advance the remarkable concept of stewardship, the careful and responsible management of the animals entrusted to our care, bringing the special combination of animal welfare and love into active, robust, impactful science that informs and improves the work of wildlife and ecosystem managers working in the field.

Additionally, and just as importantly, we also bring these extraordinary animals closer to society; kids and families, people from cities and urban centers, who would otherwise never have the opportunity to see animals like belugas, and ultimately take the step of joining us to protect them in the wild.

We work together to study and understand the animals we care for so deeply. The science produced enable wildlife managers and conservationists to make the best decisions possible for the wild beluga whales, and other species of marine animals that call these imperiled habitats, such as the St. Lawrence Estuary, home.

As a society, we should applaud the Vancouver Aquarium’s decision. It’s not just the right thing for all belugas, it’s the right thing for nature.

SeaWorld will continue to do its part in protecting these animals, and inspiring millions of people each year to join us in that mission. That mission includes providing ways for our guests to interact with and be amazed by these animals.

Most of what is known about marine mammal science, including aspects like reproduction, has been learned by studying animals in zoological facilities. We have hope as we look to the future and continue to focus on what unites our organizations, like our passion for the ocean. 

Join the SeaWorld Action Team

Read More:


Research Helps Wild Whales  

Meet The 2018 SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Youth Advisory Council


Could Killer Whales Become Extinct – Yes, But There’s Hope!


Recognizing the Next Generation of Conservation Leaders