Best of our wild blogs: 4 Jan 13

from The annotated budak and Straight and blue

十一月双溪布洛华语导游 Madarin guide walk@SBWR November(XXXV)
from PurpleMangrove

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Resorts World Sentosa dolphin died of 'bacteria poisoning'

Adrian Lim My Paper AsiaOne 4 Jan 13;

SINGAPORE - The dolphin which died when it was transported from the Philippines to Resorts World Sentosa's Marine Life Park on Nov 22 "succumbed to an acute bacterial infection", the resort said in a blog post yesterday.

Revealing the findings of a final pathology report, the resort said no evidence could be found to pinpoint the source of the infection.

Thorough medical examinations done before the dolphin, called Wen Wen, and others were transported showed that they were all healthy.

Wen Wen, a male dolphin about 10 years old, was one of 11 Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins flown from Subic Bay in a three-hour flight.

Less than an hour before the plane landed in Singapore, it "died suddenly", said a Marine Life Park spokesman that day.

Another batch of 14 dolphins had arrived here on Nov 19.

The Agri-food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore gave approval for the 24 dolphins to be released from quarantine on Dec 24.

Resorts World Sentosa added yesterday that "based on the close observation and medical status of our dolphins, and the successful completion of the quarantine assessment, we believe the infection was an isolated incident".

The resort did not reveal a date when the public would be able to see the animals, but said it would be in the "very near future, through progressive stages of introduction".

The dolphins are expected to be part of an interactive programme at Marine Life Park.

Since they were acquired in 2008 and 2009, the wild- caught dolphins have been a source of controversy between the resort and animal-welfare groups, which have called for them to be released back to the wild.

Twenty-seven dolphins were initially acquired, but two died in Langkawi in October 2010, reportedly due to a water-borne bacterial infection.

Mr Louis Ng, executive director of Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres), said it does not add up how Wen Wen, who was found to be healthy before the flight, got the infection and died in a few hours.

He said Acres is still waiting for the resort to reply to an invitation to a public debate it plans to hold later this month regarding the dolphins.

Tests show dolphin died from bacterial infection: RWS
Ng Kai Ling Straits Times 4 Jan 13;

A DOLPHIN that died in transit to Singapore last November was killed by an acute bacterial infection of unknown origin, said Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) on its blog yesterday.

It said the remaining 24 Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins bound for its marine attraction had been approved by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) for release from quarantine on Christmas Eve.

Dolphin Wen Wen was among a batch of 11 being flown from the Philippines to Singapore on Nov22, but it died en route. The first 14 had arrived three days earlier.

RWS issued a statement about the death on the same day.

It said on its Marine Life Park blog that the final pathology report indicated the male dolphin, estimated to be 10 years old, a prime age for the species, had succumbed to infection.

"The laboratory tests yielded evidence that infection was bacterial in nature, but there was no evidence of the causative bacteria," said a company spokesman.

The tests were conducted by the University of Illinois' College of Veterinary Medicine in the United States and the AVA in Singapore.

RWS added that there was "no evidence of the origins of the infection", but that all the dolphins had been cleared for export.

They were caught in the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific, and had been kept at a facility in Subic Bay in the Philippines since 2008 while the Marine Life Park was being constructed.

"Based on close observation and the medical status of our dolphins, and the successful completion of the quarantine assessment, we believe the infection was an isolated incident," RWS said.

Dolphin experts said it would be difficult to ascertain where or how Wen Wen had caught the bacteria, but it is rare for dolphins to die in transit.

Biologist Elizabeth Taylor of the National University of Singapore's Tropical Marine Science Institute said bacteria can be found everywhere in the environment, but not all lead to sickness or death. She said it was not likely that the dolphin had caught the bug on the plane. "I would think that this company would take the best precautions to keep the animals healthy," she said.

Ms Courtney Vail, the campaigns manager at the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, said research shows that transporting dolphins produces a change in stress hormone levels similar to what occurs in humans during stressful situations.

"It is well-established that chronic stress can lead to immuno-suppression and susceptibility to disease," she added.

The dolphins are not yet on show at the 8ha Marine Life Park, which opened on Nov 22.

Animal rights groups are calling for the rehabilitation and release of the dolphins back to the wild.

Dolphin 'died of bacterial infection'
All animals were healthy prior to move and infection is an isolated incident, says RWS
Today Online 4 Jan 13;

SINGAPORE - Wen Wen, the male dolphin that died en route to Resorts World Sentosa's (RWS) Marine Life Park, was killed by an acute bacterial infection, according to results of laboratory tests carried out here and in the United States.

However, the origins of the infection could not be determined, RWS said in a post on the oceanarium's blog yesterday.

"The final pathology report indicates that Wen Wen succumbed to an acute bacterial infection. There was, however, no evidence on the origins of the infection," RWS said.

It concluded that the infection was "an isolated incident" and reiterated that the dolphin, as well as the 24 others transported here in November last year, were given a clean bill of health prior to the flight from the Philippines.

"Medical examinations prior to the transport, including full haematology and chemistry profiles as well as cytology and body examinations, indicated that all animals were healthy prior to the move," RWS said.

"Based on the close observation and medical status of our dolphins, and the successful completion of the quarantine assessment, we believe the infection was an isolated incident."

The dolphin died mid-flight on Nov 22, a day after Marine Life Park was opened to the public.

RWS' acquisitions of 27 dolphins from the Solomon Islands in 2008 and 2009 for its Marine Life Park had stirred some to call for the animals to be rehabilitated into the wild.

The calls intensified when Wen Wen became the third dolphin to have died, after two dolphins died in 2010, also from bacterial infections, while they were in a holding area in Langkawi, Malaysia.

The remaining 24 dolphins could be available for public viewing "in the very near future" after the park said it had received the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore's approval for them to be released from quarantine.

"Our dolphins are healthy and have adjusted well to their new home through the diligent care of our marine mammal staff and veterinary professionals," it said.

"We look forward to letting the dolphins meet the public in the very near future through progressive stages of introduction."

Marine Life Park dolphins released from quarantine
Saifulbahri Ismail Channel NewsAsia 3 Jan 13;

SINGAPORE: The dolphins at Resorts World Sentosa's Marine Life Park have been released from quarantine and are expected to meet the public soon.

The park said the 24 dolphins have received the Agri-food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore's (AVA) approval for their release.

It added the mammals have adjusted well to their new home through the care of its staff and veterinary professionals.

The park looks forward to let the dolphins meet the public through progressive stages of introduction.

It also gave updates on the laboratory tests on the male dolphin that died on the flight to Singapore from the Philippines.

The final pathology report indicated that Wen Wen had succumbed to an acute bacterial infection.

There was, however, no evidence on the origins of the infection.

Medical examinations prior to the transport indicated that all animals were healthy prior to the move.

The park believes the infection was an isolated incident.

Recently, the park attracted controversy for its import of dolphins.

- CNA/xq

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Malaysia: Dolphin rescued on Boxing Day dies from injuries

The Star 4 Jan 13;

KOTA KINABALU: The injured dolphin that was rescued on Boxing Day has died, despite the best care from animal lovers here.

Sabah Wildlife Department senior veterinarian Dr Sen Nathan said the animal was found to have severe lung injuries.

An immediate post-mortem on the dolphin on Monday showed that the lung injuries it suffered were caused by massive infection and a very high parasitic load, he added.

The spinner dolphin or Stenella longirostris died while being treated at Universiti Malaysia Sabah's Borneo Marine Research Institute (BRMI).

BRMI director Prof Dr Saleem Mustafa said the 70kg dolphin was estimated to be about seven years old.

Wildlife experts did their best to save the creature that was found stranded in waters off the northern Kudat district.

Dr Saleem had been cautious about the dolphin's prognosis following its rescue by the Wildlife Department's Wildlife Rescue Unit (WRU) on Dec 26.

He had said that there was a possibility the dolphin had consumed contaminated organisms.

Wildlife experts could not tell whether the dolphin belonged to the resident population in Sabah or that it had migrated from other areas.

Stranded dolphin dies
Olivia Miwl New Straits Times 4 Jan 13;

INTERNAL INJURIES: Mammal could not be saved despite efforts

KOTA KINABALU: THE dolphin which was found stranded on Pulau Gandang in Tuaran near here on Dec 26 has died on New Year's Eve at the Borneo Marine Research Institute of Universiti Malaysia Sabah.

The institute's director, Prof Dr Saleem Mustafa, said despite efforts to keep it alive, the mammal could not be saved.

Earlier, the seven-year-old spinner dolphin of the Stenella longirostris species was reported to have been stabilised and was able to eat and spray water from its blowhole.

"There were signs of bacterial infection on its fin and inflammation on the lateral side of itsbody.

"The Sabah Wildlife Department veterinarians had administered antibiotics to the dolphin, while scientists from our institute had isolated the bacteria and conducted a detailed study on the bacteria's nature."

Saleem said despite the dolphin's improvement, the institute was sceptical that the mammal was going to survive.

"We are now waiting for a post-mortem report from Sabah Wildlife Department personnel who treated the dolphin."

The department's senior veterinarian, Dr Sen Nathan, said the possible cause of death was internal injuries.

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Indonesia: Fish production must be controlled

Antara 3 Jan 13;

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The People`s Coalition for Fisheries Justice (Kiara) has urged the government to control fish production in 2013 to prevent over-fishing like in 2012.

"In line with Law Number 45 of 2009 on fisheries, the main purpose of fishery management is not increasing the volume of fish production and to deplete the resource," Kiara secretary general M Riza Damanik said here on Thursday.

Riza said the ministry of fisheries and marine resources has reported fish catch production in 2012 at 5.81 million tons or 89.1 percent of the country`s total fish potentials.

He deplored the boasting of the production as an achievement saying that the main purpose of the management of fisheries and marine source sectors was assuring preservation of the resources and increasing the supply and consumption of fish protein.

"The maximum rate of fishing is 80 percent of the total potentials based on the FAO regulation," he added.

He meanwhile said that the decision of the minister of fisheries and marine resources number 45 of 2011 on estimates on fish potentials in Indonesia`s fish exploitation area states that Indonesia`s total fish potentials is 6.5 million tons.

So, the volume of fish catch production in 2012 had already surpassed the sustainability level namely by around nine percent or 600,000 tons, he said.

"In view of that fish exploitation in 2012 was not sustainable and could help cause a fish crisis in the future," he said.

To overcome the problem he said production of fish in 2013 must be returned to the sustainable level by limiting the issuance of fishing licenses especially in the waters of Aru, Timor, Java, Malacca Strait and the Indian Ocean.

"It is then followed by serious efforts in eradicating fishing crimes and stopping exports of non-processed fish products," he said.

Editor: Priyambodo RH

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Outrage over Hong Kong's 'shark fin rooftop'

Channel NewsAsia 3 Jan 14;

HONG KONG: Hong Kong conservationists expressed outrage Thursday after images emerged of a factory rooftop covered in thousands of freshly sliced shark fins, as they called for curbs on the "barbaric" trade.

The southern Chinese city is one of the world's biggest markets for shark fins, which are used to make soup that is an expensive staple at Chinese banquets and viewed by many Asians as a rare delicacy.

Activist Gary Stokes who has visited the site estimated there are 15,000 to 20,000 fins being laid to dry on the rooftop on Hong Kong island ahead of an anticipated surge in demand over Lunar New Year in February this year.

"This is shocking," the Hong Kong coordinator for conservation group Sea Shepherd told AFP, saying it was the first time that he has spotted such a massive hoarding of shark fins in one place in the Asian financial hub.

"This is the most graphic, brutal and barbaric part of the industry -- the element of chopping a shark's fin off and throwing it back into the water is horrific and inhumane," he added.

Stokes believed the large amount of shark fins were destined for China, and that traders moved to dry the shark fins on secluded rooftops instead of sidewalks -- as they have done in the past -- to avoid public anger.

Campaigns against consuming shark fins have gained ground in Hong Kong in recent years, after major hotel chains decided to drop the soup from the menus, and home carrier Cathay Pacific said in September it would stop carrying unsustainable sourced shark products on its cargo flights.

"The demand in Hong Kong is definitely decreasing but unfortunately, the demand in China is growing," Stokes said.

"As long as there is no protection for the sharks, the (demand) will just keep going on and on," he added, urging Hong Kong authorities to ban the trade.

Environmentalists say the sustainable shark fin industry is tiny and most of the products are harvested in a way that threatens scores of shark species deemed vital for healthy oceans.

About 73 million sharks are killed every year, with Hong Kong importing about 10,000 tonnes annually for the past decade, according to environmental group WWF. Most of those fins are then exported to mainland China.

The number of threatened shark species has soared from 15 in 1996 to more than 180 in 2010, mainly due to the growing Chinese demand for fins.

It was not immediately clear who owns the thousands of unprocessed fins on the rooftop, which was unguarded when visited by an AFP journalist Thursday.

A spokeswoman from the government's conservation department told AFP that authorities could not act because the fins were on private property.

"This is a real disaster and it is just a tip of the iceberg," Silvy Pun, the Hong Kong director for US-based Shark Savers said.

She criticised the Hong Kong government for not acting to protect the dwindling shark population, after neighbouring Taiwan banned shark finning this year while China plans to stop serving the soup at official banquets.

"Hong Kong is a major shark fin capital, the government must do something. The government is being very laid-back and trying to avoid confrontation with the shark fin traders," Pun said.

Trade in shark fins is not regulated in Hong Kong except for three species -- basking shark, great white shark and whale shark -- where the trade is restricted under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), to which Hong Kong is a signatory.

A kilogram of premium dried fin can fetch up to HK$10,000 (US$1,290) in Hong Kong, while a bowl of the soup sells for over HK$1,000.


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