Singapore gets dolphins after tussle with activists

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09:15 AM November 21st, 2012

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November 21st, 2012 09:15 AM

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SINGAPORE—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 Agence France-Presse that the bottlenose dolphins 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 endangered animals and plants.

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 park, saying catching them from the Solomon Islands is detrimental to the survival of the species there.

A picture on the park’s blog on Tuesday showed four bottlenose dolphins “undergoing acclimatization 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 aquarium is touted as the world’s largest with 100,000 marine animals 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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