Dolphins arrive at Resorts World Sentosa

Today Online 19 Nov 12;

SINGAPORE - Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) today welcomed a group of bottlenose dolphins from the Philippines.

According to RWS' Marine Life Park blog, the dolphins arrived safely under the care and supervision of RWS' experienced team of veterinarians and marine mammal specialists. As the animals acclimate to their new home, they will remain under a restricted quarantine period.

The Philippines authorities yesterday approved the export of 25 Indo-pacific bottlenose dolphins to RWS's Marine Life Park, after animal welfare groups tried to block the export of the dolphins in a court case.

"We look forward to introducing our dolphins to our Singaporean community and international guests through observation, educational and interactive opportunities," said RWS in its blog.

First batch of dolphins here at RWS
Animals now under quarantine; the rest will be arriving in groups
Straits Times 20 Nov 12;

THE first batch of dolphins have arrived at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) after it was reported that a court in the Philippines had issued export permits for them.

RWS said on its blog that the first group of bottlenose dolphins arrived yesterday afternoon at its Marine Life Park, where they will be quarantined.

The company said on the blog: "Our dolphins arrived safely from the Philippines under the professional care and supervision of our experienced team of veterinarians and marine mammal specialists."

The company's spokesman would not provide any more details, including the duration of the quarantine period or even how many dolphins are here.

The park, which is set to open by Dec 7, will eventually have 25 dolphins.

The dolphins are here despite strong protests from animal rights groups to release them back to the wild.

They had been kept at a facility in Subic Bay in the Philippines since 2008 while the Marine Life Park was being constructed.

The protests escalated into a court case last month after the groups, including the Earth Island Institute, Philippine Animal Welfare Society and the Compassion and Responsibility Philippines, filed a suit alleging that it was illegal to export the dolphins.

Last month, a court in Quezon City denied a petition by the animal welfare groups to stop the dolphins' export.

And on Sunday, the Philippine Star reported that the Department of Agriculture had issued the export permit.

It was not clear when the permit was issued.

RWS' spokesman said the rest of the dolphins will be arriving in groups. They will then be introduced slowly to their new home.

The public will be able to see them only next year.

NG KAI LING

Singapore gets dolphins after tussle with activists
(AFP) Google News 20 Nov 12;

SINGAPORE — A first batch of dolphins has arrived at a new oceanarium in Singapore after activists failed to have the animals' transfer from the Philippines blocked, officials said Tuesday.

A spokesman for the Marine Life Park, part of the Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) casino, told AFP that the bottlenose dolphins had arrived on Monday and were under quarantine. He declined to disclose how many animals had been transported.

The resort acquired 27 dolphins from the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific between 2008 and 2009. Two of them died and the remaining 25 have since been kept in the Philippines pending their transfer to Singapore.

Animal rights activists in the Philippines last month filed a civil suit to stop the animals being transported to Singapore, saying that their capture violated an international treaty on the trade of endangered animals and plants.

While a court in the Philippines initially agreed to a temporary ban on exporting the dolphins, another court later overturned it.

A Singapore-based animals rights group has also opposed the inclusion of the dolphins in the marine mark, saying catching them from the Solomon Islands is detrimental to the survival of the species there.

A picture on the park's blog on Tuesday showed four bottlenose dolphins "undergoing acclimatisation in their new residence".

When all the dolphins are ready, they will be housed at the park's twin attractions: the S.E.A Aquarium and Adventure Cove Waterpark.

The aquarium is touted as the world's largest with 100,000 marine animals spanning over 800 species in 45 million litres (12 million gallons) of water, while the water park features slides and wave pools in addition to marine life.

The park is set to open to the public on Thursday but the dolphin attraction will only be ready next year.

RWS' Marine Life Park opens tomorrow
Sentosa will have two underwater attractions with park's opening
Ng Kai Ling Straits Times 21 Nov 12;

SENTOSA will be host to two underwater attractions when Resorts World Sentosa opens its Marine Life Park tomorrow.

RWS' oceanarium - billed as the world's largest with 100,000 animals spread over 8ha - is sited about 1.5km from the 21-year-old Underwater World.

Ticket prices are comparable - $29 for the oceanarium at Marine Life Park and $25.90 for Underwater World.

Travel agents interviewed said Underwater World will face an uphill battle to hold its own.

When Underwater World opened in 1991, it was the biggest of its kind in Asia with over 2,300 marine animals. On average, it receives about 1.5 million visitors every year.

"It's a fine attraction. However, when juxtaposed against a spanking new development like Marine Life Park, it would certainly lack that bit of lustre," said Ms Jane Chang, spokesman for Chan Brothers Travel.

Travel agents said Underwater World could remain attractive by lowering its ticket prices.

A spokesman for the Association of Singapore Attractions said that while the two attractions have the same theme, they offer different experiences.

She added that Underwater World could bring in new exhibits and have promotional packages.

Underwater World, which is run by Haw Par Corporation, could not reply by press time.

RWS' new attraction features 49 marine habitats. Visitors will go on an underwater tour of different regions starting from South- east Asia to East Africa.

Though visitors will be able to see about 40,000 animals from about 500 species at the aquarium, this is fewer than half of the intended 100,000 animals from 800 marine species that will eventually be showcased.

An "open ocean habitat" at the aquarium will bring visitors face to face with deep-ocean species such as rays, sharks, groupers and wrasses.

This habitat is the largest in the aquarium, with the biggest viewing panel measuring 36m wide and 8.3m tall. When all the animals are in this habitat, there will be more than 50,000 of them from 70 species.

Eleven hotel suites on the other side of the aquarium have floor-to-ceiling windows offering views underwater, giving guests a submarine-like experience. They cost a cool $3,000 or so a night.

The Marine Life Park comprises the S.E.A. Aquarium and Adventure Cove Waterpark, which has six water slides.

The waterpark will also open tomorrow and tickets - sold separately from the aquarium - go for $29 as well. Tickets for children and senior citizens cost $20 each.

Activities such as diving with the sharks and getting up close with dolphins at the waterpark will be available later.

The first batch of dolphins arrived on Monday from the Philippines. They are still being quarantined.

An RWS spokesman said that the well-being of its marine life is a priority.

"Depending on our team's assessment of the various habitats to introduce more marine animals, we expect our 100,000 marine residents to call Marine Life Park home by next year."

With the opening of Marine Life Park, RWS is fully operational and will hold its grand opening ceremony on Dec 7.

World's largest oceanarium opens Nov 22 at RWS
Sara Grosse Channel NewsAsia 20 Nov 12;

SINGAPORE: Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) will open the world's largest oceanarium on November 22.

The S.E.A Aquarium, which is one of the attractions of the Marine Life Park, will be home to 100,000 marine animals spanning over 800 species in 45 million litres of water.

The centrepiece of the Aquarium is the Open Ocean Habitat with a viewing panel that stands at 8.3 metres tall by 36 metres wide.

Besides schools of fish, visitors can expect to see stingrays, zebra sharks and Queensland groupers. And over time, new species will be added to the aquarium.

The 25 controversial bottlenose dolphins, which animal activists have been lobbying to release back to their natural habitat, will also call this place home. They will be on display next year to help provide a complete experience.

"Marine Life Park is more than just the dolphins. We are here to present to visitors and guests that walk through our attraction that there is a huge urgent need in the marine environment for conservation and education, and dolphins is one of the components," said Biswajit Guha, Director of Conservation & Education at the Marine Life Park.

For those who want to get wet and wild, the challenge lies at the Adventure Cove Waterpark, which has the region's first hydro-magnetic coaster and a 620-metre Adventure River.

Visitors will also have the opportunity to snorkel with thousands of fish at the Rainbow Reef.

- CNA/il

World's largest aquarium to open
Resorts World Sentosa's Marine Life Park welcomes visitors from tomorrow
Teo Xuanwei Today Online 21 Nov 12;

SINGAPORE - The Marine Life Park, the last of Resorts World Sentosa's (RWS) attractions to open, will welcome visitors starting tomorrow although they will not be able to see one of its controversial attractions - 25 bottlenose dolphins - until next year.

The first group of the dolphins arrived in RWS on Monday but will be off-limits while they acclimatise. RWS declined to specify a date visitors will be able to see them.

The attraction comprises the world's largest aquarium and a water theme park. Tickets for these two are sold separately, at S$29 for adults and S$20 for children for each attraction.

The S.E.A. Aquarium will house some 100,000 marine animals of over 800 species that come from 49 different habitats, including the tropical waters of the Strait of Karimata, which connects the South China Sea to the Java Sea, and freshwater lakes and mangroves in East Africa.

Its centrepiece is the Open Ocean habitat with over 50,000 marine animals that visitors can view through the world's largest aquarium panel (the size of two rows of three double-decker buses).

The well-heeled can enjoy the habitat away from the crowd by booking one of the 11 duplex suites with floor-to-ceiling viewing panels. Booking opens at the end of the year and rack rates are S$3,000 a night.

At the Adventure Cove Waterpark, thrillseekers can choose from six different waterslides, including the Riptide Rocket where your dinghy gets propelled through the 225m course in only 40 seconds.

Visitors can also snorkel among thousands of fishes, feed rays, or interact with sharks and dolphins.

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