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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Dolphin deaths spark renewed opposition to RWS plans

What on earth is happening? Animals are dying!!! Research is one thing but capturing them to entertain humans is cruelty. How you like to caged up and forcefully be taken away from home? :(

Activists say keeping dolphins in captivity lowers their life expectancy. (File photo)

Animal welfare activists are up in arms over Resorts World Sentosa‘s (RWS) decision to proceed with its plan to keep dolphins in its oceanarium despite the death of two of the seven bottlenose dolphins in its possession.

According to The Straits Times, the move has drawn flak from animal welfare groups who are urging the integrated resort to reconsider its decision to keep dolphins in its upcoming Marine Life Park.

The two female dolphins — caught from the wild in the Solomon Islands — died from a melioidosis bacterial infection while being held in the Malaysian island of Langkawi two months ago. Melioidosis is a soil-borne disease, with infections occurring primarily during the rainy season.

The deaths have again sparked fresh opposition to RWS’ plans to house the animals as entertainers. Last May, RWS scrapped a controversial plan to exhibit whale sharks. It explained that it might not be able to care for the animals which can grow up to 15m long and weigh up to 15 tonnes.

Marine conservationist Paul Watson told Today newspaper 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 (SPCA) executive director Deirdre Moss echoed his views.

”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?”

Mr Robin Goh, assistant director of communications at RWS, said the pair of dolphins were perfectly healthy prior to the infection. He added that other animals in holding have not shown any signs of infection.

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.

The oceanarium — set to be the world’s largest aquarium – takes up a whopping 80,000 square metres, and was part of the resort’s proposal when Genting International won the bid to build the Sentosa integrated resort in 2006. It is scheduled to open next year.

“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,” Mr Goh added.

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.”

Source: Fit to Post - Yahoo! Singapore's blog

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