Saturday, May 28, 2011

Undercover videos released to back freedom for RWS dolphins

Undercover videos released to back freedom for RWS dolphins


Bottlenose dolphins

SINGAPORE: A local animal welfare group has released undercover videos of 25 dolphins that will be part of the attractions of the marine life park at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS).

The videos by Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES) showed the bottlenose dolphins, which were caught off the Solomon Islands, being tamed and trained in Subic Bay in the Philippines.

A group of people were seen standing around a dolphin enclosure. As they watched the dolphins, several of the marine mammals occasionally jumped out of the water.

After completion of their training, they will be sent to RWS, as part of its interactive dolphin spa experience for visitors.

ACRES said one concern is the dolphins are being fed only dead fish, which is unnatural. It added that this is also highly stressful as wild dolphins are used to eating only fresh fish.

At a separate press conference on Friday, CEO of Resorts World Sentosa Tan Hee Teck, said Resorts World has followed the rules on the trade of endangered species.

He said: "All our dolphins in Subic Bay today are very healthy, and we hopefully will be able to bring them, what I call back home here, in the next 12 months."

In addition, a press statement from Resorts World said they employ world—renowned veterinarians for the Subic Bay facility, and have built a laboratory to regularly test the health of the dolphins.

The company came under fire last year after it was discovered that a smaller group of dolphins in Langkawi were kept under poor conditions.

Two of the dolphins died of acute bacterial infection called Melioidosis in October 2010. Melioidosis is a soil—borne disease, with infections occurring primarily during the rainy season.

After the issue came to light, the company moved the rest of the dolphins to the Philippines.

In conjunction with the release of the videos, ACRES has launched a "Save the World’s Saddest Dolphins" music campaign.

It said it is not opposed to a marine park filled with species that are more adaptable to confined spaces. However, it is urging Resorts World to release the dolphins and allow them to roam free and wild in the ocean.

Louis Ng, Executive Director of ACRES, said: "The reality is that I think the small percentage of change in the size of the enclosure doesn’t make a difference in the bigger scheme of things.

"We need to realise that these dolphins have a home range of over 40 square kilometres in the wild. Even if you give them another two by two metres, I don’t think that makes much of a difference."

— CNA/cc/ac

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