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Are the benefits of research and rehabilitation outweighed by the damages caused to animals living in captivity? This question underpins the controversy over Vancouver’s aquarium, which has been sparked anew in the lead-up to the municipal election. Globe and Mail photographer John Lehmann takes a closer look at the Vancouver Aquarium

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Qila a Beluga is prepared for an ultrasound on Monday. The Ultrasounds are used in both animal care and research. (John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail)

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

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Veterinary technician Kate Cooper conducts an ultrasound on Qila, a beluga whale. The Ultrasounds are used in both animal care and research.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

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Vancouver Aquarium marine mammal trainers Kristi Heffron and Jenna Petersen work with Aurora, a beluga whale, being, is fitted with a vest that will hold cables to measure her resting metabolic rate. The data acquired is helping to assess energy requirements for adult belugas in the wild.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

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Vancouver Aquarium marine mammal trainers Adria Johnstone and Charlotte Nagata work with Pacific white-sided dolphin Helen to capture the exhalations from her blowhole, which are recorded to measure lung capacity and health. Results from this study will provide a baseline for cetacean lung health for similar non-invasive studies in the wild. It may come into practice when working to rescue wild dolphins and whales from strandings.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

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Rogue is a female sea lion who is part of a study to understand how sea lions survive and what their food requirements are.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

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Vancouver Aquarium head veterinarian Dr. Martin Haulena on his morning rounds visits sea lion Rogue, with help from marine mammal trainer Nigel Waller in the Aquarium’s lab.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

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Zachry Charland-Snow and Indrajit Canagaratnam get the day’s fish cleaned and prepped for the animals in the ‘fish room’ at the Vancouver Aquarium.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

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Hana, a Pacific white-sided dolphin, was rescued after being entangled in a fishing net. Here, she wears gelatin eyecups to help researchers understand how she uses her sonar (echolocation) to locate objects in the water. The study aims to help develop dolphin-friendly fishing practices that will prevent dolphins from becoming entangled in nets in the future.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

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Zzachry Charland-Snow and Indrajit Canagaratnam get the day’s fish cleaned and prepped for the animals in the "fish room" at the Vancouver Aquarium

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

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Vancouver Aquarium veterinary technician Kate Cooper conducts an ultrasound on Qila April 14, 2014. The Ultrasounds are used in both animal care and research

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

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Tikva, a Northern fur seal, who is part of a study by scientists to understand how they survive and what their food requirements are under goes a routine check up in Vet’s lab at the Vancouver Aquarium.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

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An African penguin at the Vancouver Aquarium is examined.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

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African penguins on display at the Vancouver Aquarium.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

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