SEPTEMBER 15 @ 7:00 PM
This in-person presentation by Charles Vinick, Executive Director of the Whale Sanctuary Project, will tell the story of how the first natural seaside sanctuary for captive whales in North America came to be. Although there are sanctuaries for elephants, chimpanzees and big cats around the world, there are none for cetaceans…yet. Thus, the Whale Sanctuary’s vision is of a world in which all cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) are treated with respect and are no longer confined to concrete tanks in entertainment parks and aquariums. Vinick will discuss what it takes to identify and acquire a suitable sanctuary location, as well as what an authentic whale sanctuary is and how the whale sanctuary in Port Hilford, Nova Scotia, is being designed to set the gold standard for many more that can then be built all over the world in the coming years.
Cost is free for SBMM’s Navigator Circle Members, $10 for all other members, and $20 for the general public. There will be a pre-lecture reception for members only from 6:15-6:45pm.
Why a Sanctuary? According to Vinick, “While we would like to see all captive animals returned to their native habitat, this is not always possible. In particular, whales who have been born in captivity and have never experienced life in the ocean with their own family have never learned the skills to survive in the wild. They need lifetime care where they can thrive in a natural setting that’s as close as possible to what they would experience in the wild. Injured or stranded individuals will be treated and assessed, and every effort will be made to release them. Vinick will also discuss how the work of creating a sanctuary for captive whales differs from the effort to designate the Santa Barbara Channel as a Whale Heritage Site.
Charles Vinick, founding executive director of the Whale Sanctuary Project and co-founder of Friends of Lolita, has been leading non-profit organizations for more than 40 years. He previously served as executive vice president of Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society and senior vice president of The CousteauSociety, working with the Cousteau family for more than 25 years. He was privileged to manage the Keiko project in Iceland, the effort to return the Free Willy whale to the wild. He currently serves on the boards of directors of Heal the Ocean, the Ocean Futures Society, and the Marine Protection Alliance, as well as the Whale Sanctuary Project and Friends of Lolita. He has received commendations from the White House for his work with youth education and from the Los Angeles City Council for community environmentalism.