Monday, January 10, 2011

Dolphins for Sentosa Resort Moved to Philippines?

The proposed Marine Life Park run by Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) has come under fire for its planned dolphin show ever since word about it got out to the public. The dolphins were captured from the wild in the Solomon Islands and shipped first to the Philippines then to Langkawi, where they have been held for training.

Last October, two (out of seven) were reported to have died from a bacterial infection. In the last month, they have been moved again. According to Today Online:
An employee who wanted to be known as Ahmed, told MediaCorp that the dolphins were put into a container last month and sent to Langkawi's international airport, from where they shipped to the Philippines.
RWS has defended its decision to have a dolphin display by saying that it complied with CITES regulations on the trafficking of endangered species, and that the display would be "educating the public on marine life and environmental issues."

In reply, a member of the public claims that having "dolphins and whales in captivity is not about education or conservation, it is about one thing - profit,"and that the best place to learn from them is in their natural habitat.

Now that nature documentaries have become so advanced both in technical terms and in narrative sophistication, I think that one would learn more from watching a good film about the life and behavior of dolphins, filmed in the wild with wild animals, than from paying to see a handful of caged animals performing tricks. I'm not saying that zoos don't have value; what I have in mind are rare animals whose beauty and fascination lie as much in their behavior and interactions with their natural environment as with their physical appearance. Dolphins certainly fall in this category.

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