World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA); Zoocheck Canada

World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA); Zoocheck Canada

September 09, 2005 10:00 ET

Media Advisory: News Conference Sept 9, 2005 11 am MDT

Marine mammal scientist concerned about planned Calgary Zoo exhibit Attention: Assignment Editor, City Editor, Lifestyle Editor, News Editor, Photo Editor CALGARY, ALBERTA--(CCNMatthews - Sept. 9, 2005) - Reports that Calgary Zoo will be acquiring marine mammals have sparked concern amongst a number of animal protection groups. Today, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), North America's largest humane society, The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) and Zoocheck Canada will jointly host a media conference in which they will urge the zoo to drop plans to display marine mammals.

News Conference Friday, September 9th, 2005, 11 am MDT
at The Westin Calgary, Lake Louise Room, 320 - 4th Ave SW, Calgary

To date, the Calgary Zoo has confirmed only their intention to display polar bears and seals in the new exhibit. They have been evasive about plans to include whales but the groups have received reports from zoo staff who say that plans to include whales are very much under consideration. Moreover, Zoocheck has obtained a letter written by the zoo to a City Alderman which defends the practice of keeping whales in captivity.

Says Zoocheck's Julie Woodyer: "We're calling on the zoo's supporters to deliver a resounding 'No!' to marine mammals at Calgary Zoo. Instead of wasting millions of dollars building tanks for whales and other marine mammals, the zoo should invest in improving living conditions for animals already in their care."

Adds WSPA's Pat Tohill: "The case against keeping marine mammals in captivity is strong, particularly so in the case of whales. Cetacean species have complex needs that cannot be satisfied in captivity. The Calgary Zoo has no experience with whales and their track record with polar bears isn't good either. The last polar bear at the zoo, in the years before it died, developed extremely stereotyped behaviour."

Explains Dr. Naomi Rose, Marine Mammal Scientist for HSUS: "Marine mammals are among the worst candidates for captivity. Most are far-ranging, highly intelligent, highly social animals and suffer immensely when confined."

Along with WSPA, HSUS is scheduled to release a new report entitled "The Case Against Marine Mammals in Captivity" later this year. An update of a 1995 HSUS publication of the same name, the report summarizes the scientific and ethical arguments against the capture and confinement of marine mammals for public display purposes. (Editor's Note: A four-page summary of the new report will be available at today's news conference.)
/For further information:
Pat Tohill, Campaigns Manager, WSPA 416 898 9448
Julie Woodyer, Campaigns Director, Zoocheck 416 451 5976

Contact Information

  • Pat Tohill, Campaigns and Communications Manager, World Society for the Protection of Animals
    Primary Phone: 416-898-9448
    Secondary Phone: 416-369-0044
    Toll-Free: 800-363-9772