AZA News Releases

AZA Statement on Cetacean Announcement by Vancouver Aquarium

SILVER SPRING, Md. – The Vancouver Aquarium, an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), today announced that it would no longer display whales and dolphins at the aquarium, with the exception of doing what is best for the Pacific white-sided dolphin currently in its care and any rescued cetaceans that may require temporary housing. In response, Dan Ashe, President and CEO of AZA, issued the following statement:

“When your choices are continuing to do important research and to educate the public on the wonders of the ocean or going to jail under a misguided bylaw, it is not much of a choice. That is the position the professionals at Vancouver Aquarium had thrust upon them. There is no doubt deciding to discontinue having whales and dolphins at the Aquarium is an agonizing one that they were forced to make. Vancouver Aquarium is a place where people can come and experience the magnificent creatures of the ocean up close. It is disappointing to me and thousands of their supporters that that experience will no longer include dolphins and whales. We applaud Dr. John Nightingale and his team for charting the best future possible, and very much look forward to supporting the Aquarium and its continued commitment to marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation work.”

AZA has continuously accredited the Vancouver Aquarium since becoming the first aquarium in North America to be accredited in 1975. The Aquarium has also received multiple “top honor” awards from AZA: the Green Award in 2015; the Marketing award in 2010; and the North American Conservation award in 2004. Within the AZA community, their professionals are regarded as leaders in the care of cetaceans and have made many significant scientific contributions through cetacean research conducted at the Aquarium.

About AZA

Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, animal welfare, education, science, and recreation. AZA is the accrediting body for the top zoos and aquariums in the United States and eight other countries. Look for the AZA accreditation logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. The AZA is a leader in saving species and your link to helping animals all over the world. To learn more, visit

Posted by Ashley Jones at 11:30 AM

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