Dolphins bound for Singapore park not endangered
We are disappointed that you did not seek our comment before publishing the story, “Set dolphins free, group urges gov’t.” (Inquirer, 11/13/11) Please allow us to provide the background about our dolphins and address some assumptions made.
The species of dolphins that will be housed at our Marine Life Park (MLP) in Singapore is not classified as endangered. Neither are they threatened with extinction. While dolphins in the wild face daily survival tests, there are well established international regulations pertaining to controlled wildlife collections of particular species intended for well-run zoological facilities. We strongly abide by such regulations.
We reiterate that the acquisition of our Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins followed the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) requirements. CITES regulates the trade of animals to protect wildlife species from extinction. The movement of marine animals, including dolphins, is governed by the United Nations Environment Programme which upholds the policies of CITES.
Our animals are in good health and given the best care in a well-established facility in the Philippines.
Allow me to correct another misrepresentation in the article: there is no known instance of a dolphin committing suicide verified by any scientific study or necropsy. Suicide is a human act. Projecting human-like intention onto another species is anthropomorphism and has no factual basis.
Dolphins in zoological parks and aquariums live almost twice as long as their counterparts in the wild. They thrive and reproduce well in state-of-the-art facilities that are equipped with medical technologies adapted to give the best care available for their health and welfare.
There will always be divergent views about animals in zoological environments. We respect that. We believe that well-run zoological facilities provide strong and inspiring messages to visitors and can make a tangible difference to animal conservation. Caring for living animals comes with great responsibility. If done correctly, animals can thrive in human care and provide vital conservation and research opportunities.
We were deeply saddened by our loss of two dolphins that succumbed to a water-borne bacterial infection called melioidosis. No expense or effort was spared to save them. Today, the MLP team is involved in melioidosis research to curb this infection which afflicts animals in the wild as well as humans.
MLP has begun to contribute to marine conservation even before its opening. We are a participant in the third veterinary training workshop specializing in treatment techniques for stranded marine mammals. We have also contributed a portable inflation pool to the Philippine Marine Mammal Stranding Network which works directly with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources on marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation.
—LIM SOON HUA, director for communications, Resorts World Sentosa, 8 Sentosa Gateway, Singapore 098269