Dolphins need acres of space to survive

From Louis Ng Founder and Chief Executive, ACRES
Today Online 28 Nov 12;

I refer to the letter, "RWS' dolphins can be of educational value" (Nov 27). The Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES) agrees that certain zoos and marine parks can play an educational role.

ACRES is not against the Marine Life Park and not campaigning for it to be closed; we are not in principle against the captivity of certain animal species.

We are against the keeping of animals who cannot cope with captivity, such as dolphins, which have one of the largest home ranges in the wild. Studies show that confining such wide-ranging animals is detrimental to their welfare.

Tellingly, dolphins and whales are the only animal groupings that are prohibited from being kept in captivity in some countries.

This year, Switzerland joined a growing list of progressive countries that have banned the import of dolphins; the keeping of dolphins or whales in Swiss zoos or water parks will end.

Also, the Solomon Islands, where Resorts World Sentosa's dolphins were caught from the wild, banned the export of dolphins from January. A recent scientific study confirmed that this trade was unsustainable, contributing to the depletion of this species there.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, one of the major threats these dolphins face in the wild is "live captures for oceanarium displays". Will RWS be informing its guests of this? Can it fulfil its educational role in dolphin protection when it has not walked the talk?

ACRES is keen to work with RWS on education programmes. However, RWS must house species that can cope in captivity and are obtained ethically, from sustainable sources.

It must ensure that its attraction plays a proper, non-contradictory role in education and in-situ conservation.

RWS' dolphins can be of educational value
From Patrick Tan Today Online 27 Nov 12;

I refer to the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society's (ACRES) "Candlelight vigil for dolphins at Speaker's Corner" (Nov 24, online).

While I am no great fan of Resort World Sentosa's (RWS) Marine Life Park and it is sad that three dolphins have died, I believe the park, if properly run, would allow people a better understanding of marine creatures.

Years ago, my family visited Discovery Cove in Florida in the United States - one of our most memorable experiences. We swam with dolphins and learnt more about them and other marine creatures than books could ever teach or my children could ever learn in school.

While I respect ACRES for its beliefs, I feel there is a lack of consistency in its approach. Why cry over three dolphins when there are some birds and dogs that should not be kept in homes in Singapore? Are these not animals that should be allowed their natural freedom? ACRES should work with RWS to make sure that the dolphins are well taken care of and that they are of educational value.