Skip to main content

Advertisement

Advertisement

SPCA urges RWS to release dolphins after fourth death

SINGAPORE — The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) has joined in the chorus of concerns over Resorts World Sentosa’s (RWS) fourth reported dolphin death, urging its Marine Life Park to release its remaining 23 wild-caught dolphins.

SPCA urges RWS to release dolphins after fourth death

RWS Marine Life Park says it does not run dolphin shows at its facilities. Photo: Resorts World Sentosa

SINGAPORE — The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) has joined in the chorus of concerns over Resorts World Sentosa’s (RWS) fourth reported dolphin death, urging its Marine Life Park to release its remaining 23 wild-caught dolphins.

“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 SPCA said yesterday.

The death of Sharmila, a bottlenose dolphin, was reported last month in a blog post by the resort’s Marine Life Park. The post also said tests were being conducted to confirm the exact cause of its death and that earlier medical tests had indicated the dolphin was healthy.

Sharmila was one of 27 dolphins that were caught in the wild and brought over from the Solomon Islands despite protests from many animal advocates.

In 2010, two dolphins died of water-borne bacterial infections in a holding area in Langkawi. A third died from acute infection during its flight from the Philippines to Singapore two years later.

Besides the SPCA, other organisations, such as local animal rights group Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES) and PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) Asia have also called for the dolphins’ release.

In its statement, the SPCA also urged the Marine Life Park to take its cue from developments overseas.

For example, Italy has banned swim-with-dolphin programmes, while Chile has prohibited the commercial display of all cetaceans.

It also pointed to recent media reports about the National Aquarium in Baltimore, United States, and Italian dolphinarium Delfinario Rimini planning to stop their respective dolphin shows.

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

When asked for an update on the cause of Sharmila’s death and the health of the other 23 dolphins, RWS’ Marine Life Park spokesperson said, in reference to the SPCA statement, that “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. We do not have dolphin shows.”

RWS confirmed that tests to determine Sharmila’s cause of death are ongoing.

ACRES executive director Louis Ng had described Sharmila’s death as “a tragic and needless loss”.

“Four dolphins have died, when is enough enough,” he had said last month.

Read more of the latest in

Advertisement

Popular

Advertisement

Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.

Aa