12 January 2009

Singapore's response to caution not to accept Solomon dolphins

The Ministry of National Development said it has thanked the Mexican senator who was so dismayed by Resorts World's plans to import dolphins from the Solomon Islands that he wrote to Minister Mah Bow Tan about it
The first seven of the 18 dolphins meant for Resorts World at Sentosa - like these bottlenoses at a Dubai marine park - were shipped from the Solomon Islands to the Philippines last month. Anyone importing dolphins into Singapore requires Cites import and export permits. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

A ministry spokesman said that as Singapore is a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites), anyone importing dolphins here would require Cites import and export permits.

Marine Life Park has said that, in addition to applying for the permits, its dolphin enclosure will 'far exceed' internationally recognised minimum space requirements for the animals. A pair of dolphins will need a tank of at least 9m by 9m and 1.8m deep, said Mr Chris Davis, who heads the park. He did not say how much space the park would give the dolphins.

To animal activists' calls for the park to keep captive-bred dolphins instead of wild ones, he said captive-bred dolphins were 'impossible to get', as marine parks did not usually sell them. A park spokesman said it had looked into acquiring dolphins from other aquariums.

Senator cites Mexico's sad experience with dolphins
Grace Chua, Straits Times 12 Jan 09;
A MEXICAN senator was so dismayed at the plans of Resorts World at Sentosa to import bottlenose dolphins from the Solomon Islands for its marine park that he wrote to National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan about it.

A Solomon Islands newspaper, The Solomon Star, reported on Dec 31 last year that Senator Jorge Legorreta Ordorica, who chairs a committee on the environment in the Mexican Congress, wrote that Mexico's international reputation was dented as a result of its importing 28 Solomon Islands dolphins in 2003.

A dozen of the animals have since died from illnesses, ranging from a muscle disorder to pneumonia, he wrote.

He urged Mr Mah to consider Mexico's experience and 'the disturbing mortality' of the animals when evaluating applications for the permits to import such dolphins.

Resorts World at Sentosa, a complex with hotels, a casino, meetings facilities and visitor attractions, unveiled plans for its Marine Life Park in 2006.

Animal rights groups have criticised its plan to house dolphins and whale sharks there.

Last month, the first seven of its 18 dolphins were shipped from the Solomon Islands to the Philippines.

The Ministry of National Development said it has thanked the senator for his letter.

A ministry spokesman said that as Singapore is a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites), anyone importing dolphins here would require Cites import and export permits.

Marine Life Park has said that, in addition to applying for the permits, its dolphin enclosure will 'far exceed' internationally recognised minimum space requirements for the animals.

A pair of dolphins will need a tank of at least 9m by 9m and 1.8m deep, said Mr Chris Davis, who heads the park. He did not say how much space the park would give the dolphins.

To animal activists' calls for the park to keep captive-bred dolphins instead of wild ones, he said captive-bred dolphins were 'impossible to get', as marine parks did not usually sell them.

A park spokesman said it had looked into acquiring dolphins from other aquariums.

Meanwhile, cargo air service UPS, which shipped the seven dolphins to the Philippines, has said it will stop moving this kind of cargo, as the practice violated its environmental principles.

Resorts World at Sentosa said it has not decided how to get the dolphins here from the Philippines.

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