After reading a post over at Des orques dans la brume, I have been keeping an eye on the health of our newborn beluga calf at the Vancouver Aquarium. Qila, the mother, is a first-timer, which always increases the risks. When the calf got sick last week, everyone took a deep breath. Having now mostly recovered, the two-week-old cutie is playfully swimming around her tank; updates are posted here and the mother and calf can be watched live on the beluga cam. Cute!

But just as it is the case out in open sea, the life and death cycle endlessly perpetuates itself at the aquarium too. And despite what some people want to believe, sometimes the human factor isn’t responsible. Animals, like us, just get sick and die. Period.

Exit Tag. The Vancouver Aquarium Stellar sea lion was 15 years old and died of… cancer! It’s a rather sad thing to imagine but he must have been treated kindly and provided the best care, so in the end, we probably made a difference on his illness.

Now the eternal debate remains. Aquariums, yes or no? I lean towards yes. Education of the public, to me, justifies a few caged, or tanked, animals – as long as living conditions are at their possible best and the aquarium is responsable and concerned with preservation, which isn’t always the case, sadly. Ours is, though, and I visit it somehow frequently, always amazed, always touched, always sad. Some of these creatures use to be swimming freely around me. It’s something one never forgets. It’s something one shouldn’t.