16 January 2009

Philippine Government asked to return 18 dolphins to the Solomon Islands

The dolphins are to be trained in the Philippines before they are re-exported to Singapore for entertainment purposes. Another 11 left Solomon Islands yesterday. 7 had been sent to the Philippines earlier.

Twelve marine and conservation organisations around the world have written to the Philippines Government asking them to return the dolphins.

They said the import and export of wildlife and wildlife products is clear violations of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the associated laws of the Philippines.

Philippines asked to return dolphins to the Solomon Islands
Solomon Star 16 Jan 09;
INTERNATIONAL animal activities are urging the Philippine Government to return dolphins exported to them back to the Solomon Islands.

Solomon Islands Mammal Education Centre and Exporters Ltd sent seven dolphins there last month. Another 11 left yesterday. These were sent there to be trained before they are re-exported to Singapore for entertainment purposes.

Twelve marine and conservation organisations around the world have written to the Philippines Government asking them to return the dolphins.

In a letter obtain by the Solomon Star, addressed to Edwyn B. Alesna, Chairman Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources/CITES in the Philippines, the group offered options or pursue legal action.

“We respectfully request your immediate action to:

1. seize and confiscate the seven dolphins already in the Philippines and, at the expense of the importer, prepare to return them to the Solomon Islands;
2. deny the issuance of any import permit for the additional eleven dolphins; and
3. immediately notify the Solomon Islands government that you will not allow the import of any additional dolphins from there until and unless it complies with Article IV of CITES and with the relevant requirements contained in Philippine law.

They said the import and export of wildlife and wildlife products is clear violations of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the associated laws of the Philippines.

“On behalf of the undersigned organisations, we are seeking your immediate assistance to prevent ongoing violations of these laws. In addition, we understand that an additional 11 dolphins are scheduled to be exported from the Solomon Islands to the Philippines at any moment and that this shipment, if allowed to proceed, would also violate CITES and Philippine law,” the letter said.

Earth Island Institute Director based in the United States Mark Berman told Solomon Star yesterday’s the export is further atrocity against the dolphin populations of the Solomon Islands.

The 11 dolphins is going to Philippines and then to Sentosa Resort, Singapore.

“We will continue to fight for the freedom of dolphins and an end to this cruel trade,” Mr Berman said.

“At nearly 100,000 USD per dolphin, you can see that only certain individuals line their pockets with cash. The citizens of the Solomon Islands see none of this profit, and the dolphins belong to no one. “They are migratory and just happen to be in SI waters when they are taken prisoner,” he said.

He adds: “I would like to congratulate the Western Province for allowing dolphins in their waters to swim free from human abuse. This continues to allow Noro base and Soltai to be dolphin safe for their tuna products”.

Mr Berman said the Solomon Islands Government should know that the short term money from dolphin catch and export will in time dry up as the international community of environmental organisations works to end the markets for dolphin captures and exports.

By EDNAL PALMER
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