Help AWI Support First-Ever North American Seaside Sanctuary to Retire Captive Whales on #GivingTuesday

Two belugas nuzzle one another while swimming with the Giving Tuesday and AWI logos overlayed.
Photo by David Merron Photography

November 30 is Giving Tuesday—a global day of giving to inspire positive change. This year, the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) is collaborating with the Whale Sanctuary Project (WSP), which is creating North America’s first seaside sanctuary where captive whales can retire from marine theme parks in natural surroundings. WSP is moving forward with the 100-acre site in Port Hilford, Nova Scotia, with a scheduled opening as early as 2023.

We ask that you join us by donating on November 30 to help fund the cost of an essential workboat to help the sanctuary conduct environmental research, and monitor and secure the site in the future. Our goal this year is to raise $30,000. 

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More than 3,000 whales and dolphins remain in captivity around the world, yet we have witnessed a fundamental shift in public opinion recognizing cetaceans as profoundly intelligent and sensitive individuals who cannot thrive when confined in concrete tanks and tiny sea pens. In 2019, for example, Canada passed a law that will bring an end in that country to keeping whales and dolphins in captivity for entertainment.

Nevertheless, reports abound of marine mammals continuing to suffer physical and mental health problems at marine theme parks at home and abroad, including at Miami Seaquarium and Marineland in Niagara Falls, Canada. Both of these facilities keep only one orca, even though the species is more social than humans. Captive orcas endlessly swim in circles, float listlessly at the surface for prolonged periods, and grind their teeth on the walls of their tanks.

As more facilities lose customers and downsize or close, an alternative for captive cetaceans is essential. These wide-ranging ocean mammals deserve a chance to swim, dive, and socialize in their natural environment—one that maximizes their well-being and autonomy.

Will you join us by donating on November 30 to #FundTheirFreedom? All online donations made during the week of Giving Tuesday (November 28-December 4, 2021) will automatically be designated for the Whale Sanctuary Project.

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If you have already donated to AWI or are a regular contributor, please accept our heartfelt thanks. Without generous contributors like you, our work to protect animals would not be possible.

Rest assured, your funds are always used wisely: Once again this year, AWI received an A+ rating from CharityWatch and a top 4-star rating from Charity Navigator—the nation’s leading independent charity monitors—in recognition of the organization’s fiscal responsibility and transparency. Additionally, we were named the top animal charity to donate to by the personal finance website WalletHub.

Additional Ways to Help #FundTheirFreedom This Giving Tuesday:

Please contact [email protected] with any questions.

Media Contact Information

Marjorie Fishman, Animal Welfare Institute
[email protected], (202) 446-2128

The Animal Welfare Institute ( is a nonprofit charitable organization founded in 1951 and dedicated to reducing animal suffering caused by people. AWI engages policymakers, scientists, industry, and the public to achieve better treatment of animals everywhere—in the laboratory, on the farm, in commerce, at home, and in the wild. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates and other important animal protection news.