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Poison Worries Over The Whale “Sanctuary” Project

Just when the right whales were the biggest concern regarding an activist-owned whale “sanctuary”, pollution could threaten the proposed facility.

By Jenna DeedyPublished 2 years ago Updated 2 years ago 3 min read
Poison Worries Over The Whale “Sanctuary” Project
Photo by Tengyart on Unsplash

For the last few years, I’ve expressed my concerns about a proposed marine mammal “sanctuary” that would be operated by animal rights extremists in Nova Scotia. Many of these concerns I’ve expressed were about the negative effects the pen would have on both local wildlife and the resident animals who would live there.

Recently, I received a message from a Port Hilford, Nova Scotia resident whose family owns most of the land where the sanctuary would be built with a few concerns he has regarding the location.

The landowner, who I’ll call “Rex” to protect his identity, came forward to me on social media to share his concerns about the proposed facility’s location after reading my previous article on how the pen-based facility is already raising concerns.

At first, Rex and his family were supporters of the “sanctuary” when anti-zoo extremist members of the “Whale Sanctuary Project” first proposed the concept. Then, after doing a little research on the matter and seeing the extremists shape-shit their idea into becoming a zoo-like facility, that was when he became concerned.

For example, Charles Vinick, the executive director of the anti-zoo organization, wants to install a watchtower for the public to see the whales since portions of the facility would not easily be seen from the wharf because of its size and scale. Vinick also plans to add a few walking trails for additional viewing.

The problem? The area is an old gold mine community and is dangerous for walking trails. In addition, the area is also home to a local bird sanctuary that’s nearby. Rex is concerned about how this facility would affect the bird sanctuary if it were to open, because of the tourists coming in to see the whales.

The area by the Whale Sanctuary by the wharf was once filled with tons of old gold mine tailings and there’s an underground tunnel that comes from one of the tailing ponds to the area of the facility that not that many people know about and when I looked into that matter, even MarineLand Canada, the only marine mammal facility in Canada to house cetaceans, expressed its concerns about the pollution in that area.

“Enormous volumes of arsenic and mercury were dumped into open mine tailings for decades throughout the district ... (and) the safety and stability of the two tailings dump sites are not known, but it is believed they do not meet any modern environmental standard.”

—--MarineLand Canada, citing provincial studies down at a bay near Port Hilford, Nova Scotia.

Rex was right. The bay where the pen would be built has been contaminated by two toxic tailing dumps that were left behind by gold mines that operated in the area between 1860 and 1939. The bay itself is so contaminated that the Canadian government closed the area to fishing for shellfish in 2019 after mollusks in the area were found to contain toxins that would make them dangerous for consumption.

I’m not defending MarineLand Canada nor am I speaking out against them but when to environmental concerns, take their word for it. Especially if a local resident shares those concerns about the facility and its location. After all, it’s bad enough that it has no intentions to use a filtration system to keep the pen healthy, clean, and safe.

Meanwhile, modern, pen-based facilities like Dolphin Research Center and Theater of the Sea, all use filtration systems to keep the pens clean and reduce the likelihood of pathogens and marine viruses from inflicting harm on the animals in their care. In addition, they also do testing on the water to check quality levels to ensure the welfare of the animals living in the pens.

If Whale Sanctuary Project really cared about belugas and orcas, the focus should be on proving funds to existing zoos and aquariums to improve their animal habitats and work to protect local marine wildlife. Also, they should really be taking the issue regarding marine pollution into account, too. Instead, they're choosing to make this facility more about whatever’s going to bring tourists in rather than what’s truly in the best interest of both the animals and the environment they would call home.

wild animals

About the Creator

Jenna Deedy

Zoo and Aquarium Professional, Educator, Cosplayer, Writer and B.A. in Psychology whose got a lot to share when it comes to animals, zoos, aquariums, conservation, and more.

Instagram: @jennacostadeedy

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