The Vancouver Aquarium’s plan to bring in two walrus pups for “a few years” from the Aquarium du Quebec is insensitive to the psychological and physical needs of the nursing mom and her babies.
Walruses will nurse up to two years and even longer, while these pups are only one and a half years old. The trauma of breaking the precious bond between mother and babies can even be life threatening. In the wild, nursing moms stay together with their pups, while adult males hang out with one another. Captive breeding can interfere with these natural lifestyles.
Following the death of four cetaceans at the Vancouver Aquarium in the past year, the facility should be in quarantine. The causes of the two beluga deaths are unknown, and the most recent death of a false killer whale was due to a bacterial infection.
Sadly, there is a long past history of the Vancouver Aquarium profiting from the separation of marine mammal pups from their mothers, as in its keeping of two week old nursing sea lion pups taken from their mothers in the wild, for use in experiments by the University of British Columbia. Sea lions naturally nurse for one to three years.
“While Lifeforce is looking at any legal protection, there is certainly a moral obligation to provide proper humane care by guaranteeing a normal, healthy nursing period,” stated Peter Hamilton, founder of Lifeforce Society. “What is the rush to get them here by Christmas? Is it to have a cute Christmas ‘entertainment’ promotion and then later lucrative experiments? And, if they survive, what will be their fate after a ‘few years’?”
Hamilton added, “Imagine waking up during Christmas to find that your babies have been kidnapped. You do not know where they went and if you will ever see them again, while the babies are in fear over the loss of their mom. That is also the unbearable trauma for the mother, Amaliaq, and her babies, Lakina and Balzak, if they are stressfully transported away and put alone in a foreign concrete prison. They are sentient beings who must not be mistreated as inanimate marketing items.”
It is a cruel business plan that we all can try to stop, by boycotting the Aquarium du Quebec and the Vancouver Aquarium!
Aquarium du Quebec’s Board of Directors at firstname.lastname@example.org
Vancouver Aquarium’s Board of Directors at email@example.com
For further information, contact Lifeforce Society at firstname.lastname@example.org
Featured image: Mother walrus and pup in the wild. Credit U.S. Geological Survey, public domain / cropped.