16 May 2009

No whale sharks at Sentosa IR!

Resorts World at Sentosa is scrapping its plan to exhibit whale sharks at its upcoming Marine Life Park, reports Grace Chua in the Straits Times today.

Spokesman Krist Boo admitted the resort was hoping to back out of its original plan as it believes it may not be able to care for the animals. She told The Straits Times on Friday: 'We are discussing and exploring an alternative proposal to having whale sharks.'The poster for the petition against captive whale sharks at Resorts World Sentosa.

Krist Boo said that its action was not governed by 'fleeting public opinion', but 'conservation of this species'. Only the whale shark exhibit would be changed, she said, adding that the replacement would be conservation-focused.

According to the AFP, the move was not due to pressure by the seven animal welfare groups which have launched an online petition that has gathered more than 9,000 signatures. "The Marine Life Park team does not take its responsibilities to both conservation and Singapore lightly and as such, we spent the past two years doing much groundwork," it said in a statement to AFP. "We strongly believe that our action must be governed by the conservation of this species rather than what is dictated by fleeting public opinion."

It is not clear whether earlier plans to have 700,000 marine creatures, including tiger sharks, piranhas and dolphins, are still in place.

Last month, RWS presented to non-governmental organisations and individuals an alternative proposal which is still under discussion. According to AFP, alternative options to the whale shark exhibit being considered were shown to the various animal welfare groups last month, it said. "This proposal is still in the process of being refined for a further round of review," the Marine Life Park said.

Another potential flashpoint concerns dolphins caught in the wild, as these animals undergo 'considerable stress and suffering' in captivity, the SPCA's Ms Moss said.

Last December, the first batch of seven dolphins meant for RWS were shipped from the Solomon Islands to the Philippines, raising conservationists' ire.

Full articles on the wildsingapore news blog.

As of today, there has been no new posts about this issue on the Resorts World Sentosa Marine Life Park section or in its press release section.

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