A new whale sanctuary is coming to North America. In early 2022, The Whale Sanctuary Project, based in Nova Scotia, celebrated the completion of the Operations Centre for its impending whale sanctuary, which will be the first of its type in North America.
The sanctuary will be located in Port Hilford Bay, Nova Scotia, and will encompass 110 acres of whale habitat. This amount of room will comfortably accommodate eight whales. The group intended to identify a location that would provide whales and other species with a variety of intriguing and rewarding environments.
“The 110 acres that will be the whales’ home need to be in an environment that’s interesting, varied and enriching, safe and healthy both for them and for all the other living creatures who inhabit the bay… For example, it should be deep in some places and shallow in others; with a sandy sea floor in some parts and a variable sea floor in others – rich in plant and animal life and basically a place the whales can truly call home,” The Whale Sanctuary Project said in a press release.
The proposed refuge will be around a 20-minute drive from the recently opened Operations Centre, which also serves as a tourist center.
“Visitors will be able to watch interactive video displays to learn about the sanctuary,” the nonprofit stated. “They can learn about whales in general, and about whales in captivity and how their lives will be changed when they are retired to the natural environment of a sanctuary.”
To develop this whale protection site, the Whale Sanctuary Project has worked closely with people, including the Mi’kmaq Nation, residents of adjacent settlements, local fishermen, and the government.
After Canada approved the Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act, which prohibits whales and dolphins from being kept in captivity, particularly for entertainment purposes, plans for a sanctuary were announced. There are currently around 220 beluga whales and 53 orca whales in captivity across the world. These animals are extremely clever, gregarious creatures who do not thrive in the small, constricted confines that aquariums and marine parks force them to inhabit. Whales kept in captivity may grow more aggressive, more prone to disease, and more likely to die young.
Whales freed from captivity will be able to live in a secure and expansive environment at the sanctuary. The sanctuary is expected to open in 2023, and the organization is hoping to raise $20 million for it.
Source: “First Whale Sanctuary in North America to Open in 2023” by EcoWatch