Singapore gets dolphins after tussle with activists

Nov 20, 2012
A model of a dolphin at the launch of a campaign by Singapore animal welfare group ACRES in May 2011 to urge Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) casino to free 25 dolphins destined for a new marine park attraction. The 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 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 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 and plants.

Visitors look at the open ocean habitat through the world's largest viewing panel at 36 metres wide by 8.3 metres high at the South East Asia aquarium, the world's largest oceanarium at Resorts World Sentosa Marine Life Park during a media preview in Singapore on November 20, 2012.

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 is detrimental to the survival of the species there.

A picture on the park's blog on Tuesday showed four "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 is touted as the world's largest with 100,000 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.

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