17 February 2010

Will there be dolphins at Resorts World Sentosa? Part 2

Eighteen wild dolphins in the Philippines have yet to be sent to Resorts Worlds Sentosa, reports Today.
Dolphins still depicted on the Resorts World Sentosa website.

The delay is because "the facilities to house them in Singapore are not finished". The Resorts World Sentosa spokesman Robin Goh said "construction of the Marine Life Park is on schedule and is slated for an opening after 2010".

These dolphins from the Solomon Islands were sent to Subic Bay Marine Exploratorium in the Philippines for training in late 2008. The dolphins were supposed to be sent to Singapore by end 2009, but are now still at Subic Bay.

The Singapore Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) has posted the Philippine newspaper report on its Facebook page. Deirdre Moss of the SPCA said the society "objects to the keeping of dolphins in captivity, as they are usually caught/kept for the purpose of training to entertain/amuse the public" and in doing so, they are "also forced to adapt to an alternative lifestyle in a man-made structure".

Mr Goh said animals acquired for its Marine Life Park are in accordance with the Cites agreement. "In the meantime, the dolphins are in good hands and being looked after according to international standards," he added.

In Jun 09, there was a Solomon Star report that "The Philippines-owned CITES science team has just sent a letter to the government of Philippines that the import of the dolphins from Solomons earlier this year is NOT legal under Philippine law."

Many Singaporeans were shocked by the film "The Cove" on dolphin hunting in Japan for meat and the captive dolphin trade. As Salina Ibrahim, a newspaper reader, writes "Singapore is indirectly guilty of contributing to the entertainment market that demands the capture of dolphins in the first place".

Mr Ric O'Barry, in an interview about "The Cove", shares how Singaporeans can make a difference: avoid live dolphin shows. He notes that Singapore has them and that more are in the pipeline. 'Consumers have all the power. Don't buy a ticket,' he says.

Mr Ric O'Barry is a former dolphin trainer who caught and trained the creatures that appeared in the iconic 1960s TV show Flipper. Now an animal-rights activist, he had a change of heart after he realised how miserable the intelligent, emotional animals were in captivity. Today, he works to undo the craze for live dolphin shows he helped spawn decades ago.

[Update: in an article "Dolphin Cognitive Abilities Raise Ethical Questions" in ScienceDaily 18 Feb 10, researchers found that dolphins "are sophisticated, self-aware, highly intelligent beings with individual personalities, autonomy and an inner life. They are vulnerable to tremendous suffering and psychological trauma." The growing industry of capturing and confining dolphins to perform in marine parks or to swim with tourists at resorts needs to be reconsidered.]

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