Dolphins benefit from life parks: RWS

From Krist Boo Senior Vice-President, Communications, Resorts World Sentosa
Today Online 19 Dec 12;

We refer to the letter, "Endangered or not, RWS dolphins' welfare a concern" (Dec 12).

Mr Louis Ng, from the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES), again presents a blinkered view of dolphins in human care, while presenting himself as an expert surpassing the scientific authorities of international bodies and countries.

Let us restate that the acquisition and care of our dolphins have met, will continue to meet and, wherever possible, surpass international guidelines, a commitment not generated from legal obligations but because we want to do right by our animals.

Our Marine Life Park team comprises animal lovers whose career paths have been influenced by an innate or cultivated love for animals. The latter often comes from visits to zoos and marine parks.

Recently, ACRES alleged inaccurately that Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) is facing indirect contempt of court charges in the Philippines.

Particular activist groups have filed an application to initiate such charges against RWS, but the Philippine courts have only set a date to hear the application and have not decided whether to issue the charges.

While not all animal lovers share the same views about the benefits of zoological parks, our view is that marine life parks are needed more than ever before, given escalating threats to the oceans.

Having animals in zoological environments promotes the sustainability of their species by influencing people's knowledge and capacity to care for them and by contributing to research and science, in which Marine Life Park is already an active participant.

Current research shows that bottlenose dolphins thrive in zoological parks and live longer than their counterparts in the wild. Our dolphins are benefitting from 60 years of worldwide marine mammal zoological learning.

Our team of caretakers collectively represent over 700 years of hands-on experience, including rescuing and rehabilitating animals, assessing the health of wild animals, pioneering behavioural programmes and contributing to marine mammal medicine and care.

We will not compromise our animals' well-being. Now in their required quarantine period, our dolphins are acclimatising well to their new home.

Marine Life Park has welcomed over 125,000 visitors since its Nov 22 opening. Guest feedback has been very positive. Our priorities are to our animals and putting Singapore on the world map as a heavyweight in marine conservation and research.

Ultimately, Singaporeans and our visitors will make their own decisions as to the benefits of marine parks and the care provided to our dolphins.

Marine Life Park has worked on numerous collaborations with universities, schools and global partners over the last two years. Now that we have opened, we are expanding our conservation and research initiatives and embarking on new, exciting programmes.

ACRES should contribute constructively to marine conservation while appreciating that it requires many strategies, experts and resources to turn the tide for the future of marine life.

Interested readers can visit http://mlp.rwsentosablog.com for updates on Marine Life Park.

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