Re: “Seattle Aquarium’s Ocean Pavilion will transform its focus and the waterfront” [Oct. 28, Pacific NW Magazine]:
The Seattle Aquarium is tying itself in knots to green-wash its new boondoggle of a project, but when it comes to animal welfare, there is no offset for its callousness and greed.
Its claim that the sharks and rays will come from other aquariums is meaningless. Acquiring animals from facilities that removed them — or their very recent generations — from the wild does not absolve the aquarium from contributing to a devastating practice that results in severe mortality rates from the point of capture through handling, shipping and acclimation.
Sharks have large, well-developed brains and can learn and remember just as well as many mammals can. They are curious and even playful. Their exceptional sensory systems allow them to detect minute electrical fields, smell diluted waterborne scents, and hear and sense low-frequency sounds and vibrations. In aquarium tanks — no matter how large or pleasing to the human eye — sharks are denied all the rich sensory experiences of their natural environment, including the ability to swim freely through ocean waves, feel the tides, and hunt and forage for food.
The aquarium’s response to the question “Where are the sharks?” should be that it chose to leave them in their rightful ocean home.
Lisa Wathne, Lake Forest Park
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