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SPCA calls on RWS to release remaining 23 dolphins

SPCA calls on RWS to release remaining 23 dolphins
Dolphin under quarantine in RWS' Marine Wildlife Park. Photo: RWS

SPCA calls on RWS to release remaining 23 dolphins

Call comes after death of fourth dolphin in 18 months

SINGAPORE — In the wake of the death of a fourth dolphin out of 27 at the Marine Life Park, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA Singapore) today (June 4) called on Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) to release its remaining 23 wild-caught dolphins.

The death of Sharmila, a bottlenose dolphin, was announced in a blogpost by the Marine Life Park on May 12.

“We are conducting tests to confirm the exact cause of death. Prior medical tests indicated that she was healthy. We are closely monitoring all our animals, and as always, no effort or resources will be spared in ensuring the health and well-being of our dolphins at Dolphin Island,” the park said in the post.

“In a country like Singapore, with the Wild Animals and Birds Act in place prohibiting any person from killing, taking or keeping any wild animal, 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’ Marine Life Park attraction,” said SPCA Singapore Executive Director Corinne Fong in a media statement today.

“Subjecting these wild dolphins to a forced lifestyle in captivity, tamed against their will and introducing paid interaction programmes with the public marketed as ‘engagement learning’, is, in essence, unabashed animal exploitation.”

The act of catching and confining these animals in limited spaces and training them to become something they are not cannot contribute towards constructive education of the public on marine life and environmental issues, she added.

In response, a Marine Life Park spokesperson said, “There will always be divergent views about animals in human care and in zoological environment. 

"Our viewpoint is that well-run zoological facilities provide strong and inspiring messages to visitors and can make a tangible difference to animal conservation. "

The park said that they "do not have dolphin shows" and invited interested members of the public to read more about thier animals and conservation efforts on the park's blog.

The dolphins are the centrepiece of the park’s Dolphin Island attraction. They first hit the headlines in 2010 when two dolphins died of bacterial infections before they arrived from the Solomon Islands, where they had been caught in the wild. A third dolphin died in 2012 on the flight to Singapore due to acute infection. CHANNEL NEWSASIA