Photo of dolphin in the Langkawi pen, from Natura Gig.
According to the Today article: The dolphins were caught from the wild in the Solomon Islands in January. Two females - one aged between four and five years and the other, around 10 - died from an acute bacterial infection of Melioidosis in October, said RWS spokesman Robin Goh on Friday. They were in "perfect health" previously, he noted. The remaining five have no signs of infection.
I first heard of the dolphins in Langkawi when WChinner posted on Natura Gig about cages being set up at Awana Porto Malai, a resort there. I later learnt that one of the Langkawi dolphins may have escaped from the pen, thanks again to WChinner on her Natura Gig. She has updated her blog with this latest sad news.
Further details of the report include responses by NGOs:
Marine conservationist Paul Watson told MediaCorp the "incarceration of dolphins lowers life expectancy of the animals".
"It's a trade based on blood and misery and has no place in the 21st century," said the founder and president of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals executive director Deirdre Moss agreed: "This is a tragedy. The animals were obviously under tremendous stress ... If RWS could change its stand on whale sharks, why couldn't they on dolphins?"
Last year, RWS scrapped its original plan to exhibit whale sharks. Animal Concerns Research and Education Society founder Louis Ng hopes RWS will also "re-think" its decision to keep dolphins in captivity.
Marine Life Park is still under construction. Said RWS' Mr Goh: "We currently do not have a definite date for its opening, and likewise, details like animal configuration are also being finalised."
As for the 18 dolphins being trained at Ocean Adventure Park in the Philippines for the Marine Life Park, RWS said they were in "good health".
"We're continuing with the development and establishment of the medical, behavioural, husbandry and training programmes that include the preventive medicine programme to ensure the well-being and health of the dolphins," said Mr Goh, who added that the Marine Life Park was "part of the bid" when RWS was awarded the integrated resort licence.
"We're committed to delivering the bid and the Marine Life Park that will not only boost tourism but research, conservation and education in marine mammals in this part of the region."
However, Ms Moss reiterated: "It's cruel to capture these animals from the wild with a view to entertain the public. We should promote tourism but not at the expense of these animals."
Bottlenose dolphins are listed in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which entail strict regulations in the trade of these mammals.
RWS has said previously it would comply with CITES.
Full report on wildsingapore news.
Recent media articles following the dolphin deaths
- Dolphins should not be taken from wild Letter from Deirdre Moss Executive Director, SPCA Today Online 11 Jan 11;
- Best place to learn from dolphins? In the wild Letter from Marilyn Cromack Today Online 9 Jan 11;
- ACRES unpublished letter to TODAY Forum: Put yourselves in the shoes of the dolphins, 10 Jan 11
- Oh where, oh where have the dolphins gone? Esther Ng Today Online 8 Jan 11;
- Resorts World Sentosa: "Marine park walks the talk" and AVA says "RWS must comply" Letters from Resorts World Sentosa and AVA Today Online 8 Jan 11;
- ACRES unpublished letter to ST Forum: Obtain further scientific advice before allowing import of dolphins 4 Jan 11
- SPCA voices concern over animal experimentation and dolphins at Resorts World Sentosa Straits Times 30 Dec 10;
- Resorts World Sentosa told to review dolphins by man who sold them the dolphins From dolphin 'Darth Vader' to activist, Benson Ang The New Paper Asia One 26 Dec 10;
- For PR's sake, free the dolphins Letter from Roger Chow Today Online 27 Dec 10;
- Resorts World Sentosa urged to make 'moral decision' on dolphins Wildlife-rescue group ACRES wants resort to abort plans to house dolphins Today Online 20 Dec 10;
- Full letter by Acres on facebook
- Dolphin exhibit still part of RWS' plan Straits Times 20 Dec 10;
The revamped Resorts World Sentosa website on the Marine Life Park indicates the Park will be "opening after 2010" and the description of the Park starts off with: "Dive into the aquatic world and get a chance to interact with dolphins, snorkel with rays and come face to face with some of the ocean’s most fascinating creatures." As of today, there is no mention of the dolphin deaths in their press room page.
By the way, Resorts World Sentosa has a facebook page.
Meanwhile in other recent dolphin news: concerns were expressed that Sentosa's Underwater World Singapore dolphin pool was too small, while a study has recently been launched on Singapore's wild dolphins.
- Dolphin escapes from Resorts World Sentosa?
- Will there be dolphins at Resorts World Sentosa?
- More dolphins heading to Singapore via Langkawi?
- More posts about aquariums and captive marine mammals in Singapore.
Recent media articles on dolphins and aquariums
- Dolphinarium opening sparks protest in Armenia Yahoo News 24 Dec 10;
- Battle to save wild dolphins from Hong Kong park Simon Parry and Hazel Parry Earth Times 23 Apr 10;
- Ocean Park eyes deal leading to dolphin imports from Solomons Solomon Star 21 Apr 10;
- Celebrities join fight to free whales and dolphins from marine parks Sally Kestin, Sun Sentinel 17 Apr 10;
- ‘Darth Vader of dolphins’ to release 17 bottlenose dolphins Former opponents withhold judgment, Judith Lavoie, Times Colonist 29 Mar 10;
- 18 dolphins from Solomon Islands destined for Singapore are stranded in Subic Tonette Orejas, Philippine Daily Inquirer 5 Feb 10;
- 18 dolphins for Resorts World Sentosa still in the Philippines Leong Wee Keat, Today Online 17 Feb 10;
- Eight more Solomon Islands dolphins flown off to Malaysia Solomon Star 11 Dec 09;
- Solomon Islands Marine Wildlife Park continues dolphin hunt Solomon Star 1 Sep 09;
- More Solomon Island dolphins may head overseas The Solomon Star 25 Aug 09;
- Dying to make us happy: The bloody truth behind the dolphinarium The Independent 11 Oct 09;
- "The Cove" and what Singaporeans can do john lui, The Straits Times 31 Aug 09;
- ‘The Cove’ puts amusement park visitors in bind, park owners on defensive Brian Alexander, msnbc.com 6 Aug 09;