04 April 2009

Updates on whale shark at Resorts World Sentosa

"Although the feedback we have received till now is not always positive, it shows how concerned everyone is towards the success of the Marine Life Park." stated an undated letter on the Resorts World Sentosa website.

"As of today, over 3,000 of you have written to us and we hope you can spare a few minutes for our side of the story." says Resorts World Sentosa.

There appears to be several petitions on the issue. This petition has 7,100 signatures while this petition has 550 signatures. There is one more petition here, it doesn't display the current count of signatures.

"Last week, we put out a press statement specifying that plans for the Marine Life Park are still being finalized and options are being explored." Are they referring to this post they made dated 12 Mar (which no longer exists on their website)?

"We want to highlight that the whale shark exhibit at the Marine Life Park was submitted as part of the winning bid in an international competition for the Integrated Resort on Sentosa in late 2006. As such, the organization is bound to deliver the integrity of the bid, and any proposed replacement for the whale sharks must be defensible in that it must be viable and be as broad, if not compelling, in its appeal to bring in visitors to Singapore - the reason Singapore decided to have the integrated resorts."

In a radio interview with 92.8Live on 20 Mar, "in response to this, the animal welfare organizations point out that marine parks elsewhere are already excluding captivity and that is the direction Singapore should take."

Louis Ng of Acres said: "If you look, other marine parks in the UK are saying no dolphins in captivity, there are government that are more progressive, who have said, no more dolphins in captivity. And I think we’ve progressed, but we have to progress in the right direction, and not do something other countries are stopping."

Jaki Teo who is behind the Against whale sharks in captivity petition feels although the whale shark exhibit formed part of the winning bid, RWS should explore other ways to attract tourists.

"Granted it was part of the bidding agreement that they have whale sharks, but I’m sure if they had a think about it, there are so many other ways to bring in tourists. If there’s people from different countries, like America and Dubai and even Taiwan and China signing our petition and saying that that’s a bad idea, I don’t think anyone would really believe that it’s for conservation, I think it’s bad for our own image."

The Singapore Tourism Board says in importing animals for the Marine Life Park, RWS will have to comply with international regulations as well as the requirements of the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority.

AVA said that RWS would have to demonstrate that they have the necessary facilities and infrastructure in place for marine animals.

The facilities must be large enough to house the shark and have a good water maintenance system - and in addition, adequate professional staff, including veterinarians and marine biologists.

Full radio interview and Resorts World Sentosa letter on the wildsingapore news blog.

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