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September 19, 2012

Statement from HSI/Canada on Upcoming Release of Harp Seals Zak and Mika

Humane Society International/Canada

  • Zak and Mika are living proof of the need to place a moratorium on live capture of marine mammals in Canada. Skerry/HSUS

Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of Humane Society International/Canada, issued the following statement in response to reports that the Aquarium des Iles will release Zak and Mika, two harp seals captured by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans as newborns earlier this spring:

“Humane Society International/Canada is very pleased to learn that the Aquarium des Iles will release Zak and Mika into the wild. However, we urge the Aquarium to ensure that the seals receive appropriate rehabilitation in advance of such a move, to ensure they are able to forage for food effectively and improve their prospects for long-term survival.

More than a decade ago, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans was advised to place a moratorium on the live capture of marine mammals. We hope that the plight of Zak and Mika, and the strong public reaction to the situation, will demonstrate clearly to DFO the need to cease this senseless practice. We call upon the DFO to learn from this experience and stop its capture of live marine mammals from this point forward.”

The Magdalen Islands-based aquarium had publicized plans to euthanize the two seals last week, stating that the DFO had refused them permission to release the animals. A strong public outcry has apparently caused a reversal in the DFO position.

The 1999 Lien Report, prepared for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans on the welfare of captive marine mammals, outlined the numerous problems with live capture and maintenance of marine mammals in captivity, and called for a moratorium on the practice to promote further discussion. 

 

Media Contact: Dean Pogas, HSI/Canada: 514-261-6007/514-395-2914; dpogas@hsi.org

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Humane Society International/Canada is a leading force for animal protection, representing tens of thousands of members and constituents across the country. HSI/Canada has active programs in companion animals, wildlife and habitat protection, marine mammal preservation and farm animal welfare. HSI/Canada is proud to be a part of Humane Society International—one of the largest animal protection organizations in the world, with more than eleven million members and constituents globally—on the Web at hsicanada.ca

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