“NO” To Dolphins in Captivity
UPDATE: SPCA joins Animals For Asia to speak against the development of a dolphinarium in Da Nang, Vietnam. See letter and petition to support the cause. SPCA calls on Resort World Sentosa (RWS) to release remaining 23 dolphins
In October 2012, it was reported in the news that a Philippine court had granted a “temporary environmental protection order” at the request of local activist groups there, in an attempt to prevent the export of 25 Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins to the Marine Life Park at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) Singapore. The dolphins, originally from the Solomon Islands, are scheduled to go on show there next year. Unfortunately the protection order expired and was not renewed, despite efforts by the groups to appeal the decision handed down by a different judge.
RWS has said that it is in compliance with the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites), but the act of taking and confining these animals from the wild is at odds with an era of heightened corporate social responsibility in environmental concerns and the spirit of Singapore’s Wild Animals & Birds Act which prohibits the taking of an animal from the wild). It is regrettable that whilst there is a government ban here on wild animal performances in circuses since 2002 (on animal welfare and public safety grounds), this does not extend to wild animals in local attractions.
It was reported in the press on 18 December 2010, that two of the seven bottlenose dolphins destined for Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) died in October 2010 from an acute bacterial infection of Melioidosis, in a holding area in Langkawi Island, Malaysia. Although RWS claims that the remaining five are in good condition, it is noteworthy that the two dolphins that died were in ‘perfect health’ before this as well.
In a country like Singapore, with laws in place prohibiting the taking of animals from the wild, it is extremely disappointing that we are accepting these wild caught dolphins for the purpose of forcing them to adapt to an unnatural lifestyle in RWS’s Marine Life Park attraction.
If RWS could change its stand on whale sharks, surely they can for the dolphins as well.Countries that have banned live imports and exports of cetaceans include countries as diverse as India (imports) and Costa Rica (imports and exports). The United Kingdom and Brazil do not hold cetaceans in captivity, and Italy has banned swim-with-dolphins programs. Chile has prohibited the commercial display of all cetacean species.
Read our last letter to the press on the issue which went unpublished.
We wrote to the Chairman of Resorts World Sentosa, Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay in February 2011 to appeal against the importation of the wild caught dolphins for the Marine Life Park. An official from Resorts World replied, stating that there is a role for zoos and aquariums in the conservation of wildlife and in education, and that the dolphins are receiving round-the-clock veterinary care in the Philippines. As much as Resorts World claims that the well-being of all animals at its planned Marine Life Park is a top priority, the example it has set by capturing wild animals for the public’s entertainment and compromising their welfare contradicts its aim of educating and conserving the species. On Sunday 28 August 2011, we showed our continued support for ACRES’ World’s Saddest Dolphins Campaign www.saddestdolphins.com by participating in a concert organised by ACRES and Young NTUC at Speaker’s Corner. The concert, which featured many local musicians, was organised to demonstrate a united stand against Resorts World Sentosa’s plan to import 25 wild-caught dolphins for its Marine Life Park.
How you can help – Show your support for the dolphins and write in to the following to express your stand:
Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay
Resorts World Sentosa
39 Artillery Avenue
Permanent Secretary Ministry of National Development
Mrs Ow Foong Pheng
Permanent Secretary Ministry of Trade and Industry
Mr Gabriel Lim
Director – General National Parks Board Animal and Veterinary Service
Dr Yap Him Hoo
Chief Executive Singapore Tourism Board
Mr Keith Tan
Find out more about dolphins in captivity: