31 October 2014

Resorts World Sentosa says Singapore has no wild dolphins: NOT true!

Resorts World Sentosa says "dolphins aren’t native to the waters of Singapore" in a bid to get people to pay for a 'magical' experience with captive dolphins.
Wild dolphin seen off Kusu Island, Sep 2014
Photo by Samuel Tan shared by Rene Ong shared on facebook.
This is completely untrue!
Wild dolphin seen in the Singapore Strait
Photo by Con Foley.
Wild dolphins are native to Singapore and have been regularly sighted in Singapore waters. The most recent sighting was last month near Kusu Island by Rene Ong. Her sighting is captured in the Singapore Biodiversity Records.

Both Rene and I left the above comments on the blog post, but the comments were deleted soon after.

Here is a screen shot of the Resorts World Sentosa blog post (taken on 31 Oct at noon).

And here's a closer look at their header.
click on image for larger view
Dolphins are regularly sighted in Singapore waters! Mei Lin and her friends had a truly magical encounter swimming with a wild dolphin in Singapore last year.
Photo by Neo Mei Lin.
She shared a video clip of this encounter!

Last month (Sep 2014), it was reported that Resort World Sentosa's SEA Aquarium and Dolphin Island was granted accreditation by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. How can an accreditated institution spread such gross misinformation about dolphins?

This is just the latest in a series of recent news about captive dolphins at Resorts World Sentosa and Underwater World Sentosa.

In Jun 2014, it was reported that the SPCA called on Resorts World Sentosa to release remaining 23 dolphins after the death of another Marine Life Park dolphin. The death was announced in a blogpost by the Marine Life Park on May 12. This is the fourth dolphin death linked to the Marine Life Park. In 2010, two dolphins meant for the park died in Langkawi due to a water-borne bacterial infection. A third dolphin died on board a flight to Singapore in November, 2012.

This week, it was reported that Wildlife Watchers (Singapore) in collaboration with Sea Shepard Conservation Society (SSCS) questioned the health conditions of the dolphins and the welfare of the otters housed in Dolphin Lagoon and Underwater World Singapore in a 30-page report.
They called on on the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) to respond. AVA said in a statement that following feedback from Wildlife Watcher, it inspected UWS and found the dolphins to be in "satisfactory condition". It noted that one of the dolphins is being treated for non-contagious skin cancer and that it is not used for animal performances. An AVA spokesperson added that UWS is required to comply with AVA's licensing conditions and guidelines to ensure animal welfare and professional standards for the accomodation, management and acquisition of animals.

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Update 31 Oct 9.30pm: The Resorts World Sentosa blog has been updated to the following. Thanks to Serin and friends for the heads up! 
click on image for larger view
And it seems, Rene's and my original comments are showing up on the RWS post again.

Thanks to David Ee of the Straits Times for doing a great article about the wild dolphins and other marine mammals that can be seen in Singapore waters! In his article, he says "In sightings reported to TMSI, at least 169 dolphins were spotted between 2008 and 2011 in the waters between Singapore and Batam, near St John's Island and Pulau Semakau, and as close to shore as Marina Barrage. At least another 50 were sighted in 2012. The number of sightings last year and this year has largely remained the same, according to anecdotal reports from scientists."

More in Dolphins frolicking in Singapore's backyard David Ee The Straits Times AsiaOne 17 Nov 14;


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