Saving our dogs or catching a whale shark?

In 2018 Ibaraki Prefecture disposed of approximately 450 unwanted dogs and cats.

Several local animal welfare groups have worked tirelessly to save the animals and have been demanding that the Prefecture improve conditions in its animal control center, so more animals can be housed and adopted out.

In a move that has alarmed dog and cat lovers, just recently the Governor of Ibaraki Prefecture announced that in 12-14 months his Prefectual Oarai Aquarium would capture a wild whale shark to be put on display. The Prefecture will spend more than one hundred million dollars.

While the Oarai Aquarium claims its new tank will be the largest in Japan, it will be impossible for it to meet the biological and beahvioural needs of a whale shark because they inhabit in vast expanses of ocean and travel thousands of kilometers seasonally.

A study of 16 whale sharks kept at the Okinawa Expo Aquarium from 1980 to 1998 found they survived an average of 502 days in captivity while their lifespan is an estimated 70 to 100 years in the wild.

The Ibaraki Prefecture would be much better to spend tax payer dollars on improving the conditions in its animal control center and helping all those dogs and cats who will otherwise be killed, rather than introducing a wild whale shark, a massive fish that is totally unsuited to captivity, to the Oarai Aquarium.

(photo: CAPIN Ibaraki)

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