"The mission of The Whale Sanctuary Project is to establish a model seaside sanctuary where cetaceans (whales and dolphins) can live in an environment that maximizes well-being and autonomy and is as close as possible to their natural habitat."
"The new non-profit organization is headed by Dr. Lori Marino, executive director of The Kimmela Center for Animal Advocacy, Dr. Naomi Rose, marine mammal scientist for the Animal Welfare Institute, and David Phillips, co-founder and executive director of Earth Island Institute and director of the International Marine Mammal Project.
“There are sanctuaries for other large, highly social, and wide-ranging mammals, including elephants and great apes, but there are none anywhere in the world yet for dolphins and whales,” said Marino, a neuroscientist and expert in animal behavior and cognition formerly on the faculty of Emory University. “Cetacean sanctuary initiatives are long overdue, and we now have the best possible team of experts to ensure an optimal quality of life and care for individual cetaceans.”
The planned sanctuary will primarily serve orcas, belugas and dolphins endemic to colder waters who are retired from entertainment facilities, and injured or ill animals rescued from the ocean.
Rescued animals may be rehabilitated and returned to the wild, but those retired from the entertainment industry, who have never known life in the wild, are considered unlikely candidates for release and so would be given lifetime care.
The sanctuary would be open to the public on a regularly scheduled basis, in a manner that avoids disturbing the animals, and would offer comprehensive conservation and education programs.
The Whale Sanctuary Project has received an initial donation of $200,000 from Munchkin, Inc., an award-winning, global baby product company. Munchkin, Inc. previously launched its “Orcas Live in Oceans” campaign to raise awareness of the plight of captive whales, and removed the orca toy from its popular bath toy collection. The company has also pledged a total of at least $1 million toward completion of the project."