The Vancouver Aquarium is home to two rescued and rehabilitated Pacific white-sided dolphins, Helen and Hana.
Helen was rescued from entanglement in a fishing net off the west coast of Japan in 1996. To save her life, veterinarians were forced to amputate much of her pectoral flippers. She recovered after a lengthy rehabilitation, but was deemed non-releasable.
Hana was also rescued from a fixed fishing net, in 2003. Extremely emaciated when she arrived at the Enoshima Aquarium, she too underwent a lengthy recovery period and could not be released to the wild.
In 2005, the Vancouver Aquarium offered this pair a safe and healthy long-term home, where they not only live and play together, but also take part in conservation research and help us explain to more than a million visitors a year the dangers that cetaceans face around the world. Helen and Hana are helping researchers to understand how dolphins navigate underwater using echolocation and why they get caught in fishing nets. They arrived here at their new home from the Enoshima Aquarium on October 16, 2005. No money was exchanged as part of this transfer.
None of the animals at the Vancouver Aquarium came from drive fisheries in Taiji — which is on the opposite coast of Japan from where Helen and Hana were rescued — or from any drive fishery. The Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums condemns the inhumane killing of dolphins and other cetaceans in the Japanese drive fisheries. As an Alliance member, we do not support, fund, or acquire animals from drive fisheries or aquariums that may be associated with drive fisheries.
To find out more about animals at Vancouver Aquarium, please read an Open Letter on Cetaceans in our Care.