ACRES to RWS: Set the record straight

Letter from Christina Lee Jiawei Campaigns Officer, Animal Concerns Research & Education Society
Today Online 28 Oct 11;

I refer to the letter "Marine life parks both educational and inspirational" (Oct 26).

Resorts World Sentosa states its belief that "controlled collection of wildlife in well-run zoological facilities is essential" and that it complied with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

However, can RWS clarify if it conducted proper scientific studies into the status of the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins in the Solomon Islands prior to their capture?

Can RWS scientifically state that its capture of the 27 dolphins was not detrimental to the survival of this species in the Solomon Islands?

Lastly, does RWS agree with the statement that the preference for Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins as a captive, display species "makes them vulnerable to depletion from such catches"?

Due to the lack of scientific data, the world conservation union IUCN urged CITES parties in 2003 to not issue import permits for dolphins captured in the Solomon Islands (

RWS previously stated that it would be "gravely irresponsible" to re-introduce captured dolphins into the wild, indicating its position that re-introductions are not possible.

In its letter, RWS now speaks about how marine parks can help in the rescue and rehabilitation of marine animals in the wild. Has RWS changed its position?

The Animal Concerns Research & Education Society (ACRES) urges RWS to respond to all the concerns we raised in the letter "Swim at RWS or in the ocean?" (Oct 21).

ACRES supports the establishment of the Marine Life Park, but we hope that RWS opens a park that focuses on ethical acquisition of animals, the keeping of animals that can cope with captivity and a park that focuses on proper, in-situ conservation efforts.

Be consistent in conserving nature
Letter from Alfred Chia Yong Soong
Today Online 29 Oct 11;

AS WE celebrate the achievement of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve being declared as Singapore's second Asean Heritage Park, the first being Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, we must reflect, too, that dolphins caught from the wild will be performing soon at Resorts World Sentosa.

President Tony Tan had acknowledged that it was a privilege for Singapore to be recognised in the region for its nature conservation efforts.

Is it not ironic that as we embrace this new accolade, at the same time, we are condoning and allowing such wild creatures to be paraded for economic greed?

Many who object to this have raised their concerns and views, but it seems from RWS' letter "Marine life parks both educational and inspirational" (Oct 26) that it will go ahead with the venture.

Such stoicism on its part cannot go unchallenged and must be condemned by all who care genuinely for nature.

The Government, while accepting the endorsement bestowed on Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, must be seen to be consistent in nature conservation, lest we be miscontrued as conserving nature only on a selective basis.

Marine life parks both educational and inspirational
Research, breeding programmes in the works at RWS
Letter from Krist Boo Senior Vice President, Communications, Resorts World Sentosa
Today Online 26 Oct 11;

We thank Today readers for their letters last week on the Marine Life Park (MLP)and take this opportunity to state MLP's position, plans and clarifications regarding our 25 dolphins.

We at MLP believe that controlled collection of wildlife in well-run zoological facilities is essential. Propagation and knowledge gained from dolphins in human care have helped conservation efforts worldwide.

It is the responsibility of all marine facilities to support both scientific research and conservation. In fact, most efforts to rescue and rehabilitate marine animals in the wild call upon the expertise and equipment from marine parks today.

It is also a fact that millions of people each year visit aquariums and marine parks, which not only offer educational value but have also inspired numerous visitors to embark on careers dedicated to helping or working with animals.

One of the letters, "Swim at RWS or in the ocean?" (Oct 21), quoted the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) casting doubt over the collection of wild Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins in the Solomon Islands.

That was actually sourced from a presentation to the IUCN, edited by R R Reeves and R L Brownell Jr, with a preface from IUCN stating that the presentation did not "necessarily reflect the views on IUCN".

Regardless, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, managed by the United Nations Environment Programme, is the recognised agreement that governs trade involving wild fauna and flora.

The acquisition of all MLP marine animals, including our dolphins, adheres to its standards.

There is much to learn about bottlenose dolphins. Through our team of experienced staff, we have identified and begun participating in research programmes regarding marine mammals.

Once our dolphins are in Singapore, we will begin a breeding programme modelled after other programmes that have been successful in marine parks throughout the world. We invite readers to visit our blog ( to know the MLP better.