Louis Ng of the Animals Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres) in Singapore said the public outrage on social media was so intense netizens filled the Resorts World Sentosa Facebook page with angry comments.
Resorts World Sentosa was to use the dolphin in its water shows.
“It’s not just us animal advocates but the public is very angry. They are also demanding the release of the captive dolphins back into the wild,” said Ng in a press conference in Manila yesterday.
Ng flew to the Philippines following the death of Wen Wen, a 10-year-old male dolphin that was one of 25 sea creatures transported to Singapore by plane despite motions filed in a Quezon City court.
Acres is the Singaporean partner of the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), Earth Island Institute (EII) and Cara Welfare Philippines. The Philippine groups had sued Resorts World Sentosa and two government agencies in court in a bid to stop the export of the dolphins.
The Indo-Pacific bottle-nosed dolphins which originally numbered 27 were imported from the Solomon Islands in 2010. Two died in Malaysia before they could be brought to the Philippines where they were to be trained in Subic before being exported to Singapore.
Died on the plane
“There was a dead dolphin on the plane. All the airplane ground staff would have seen that,” said Ng.
“If conservation is taking animals from the wild and they die in captivity then that is the biggest con in conservation,” he said.
On Monday, Judge Evangeline Marigomen of Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 101 ordered Resorts World Sentosa, the Philippines Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Aquatic Resources to answer the advocates’ motion to have them cited in contempt for transporting the dolphins despite the court proceedings.
But since all the dolphins were now in Sentosa, the animal rights advocates said their efforts all went to waste with Resorts World’s “blatant, outright disregard for the Philippine courts.”
“Our main case was to stop the transport of the dolphins, and they did that without informing us or the court. It’s now moot and academic,” said lawyer Mel Velasco, counsel for the animal rights groups.
Last month, the Quezon City court issued a Temporary Environment Protection Order blocking the export of the dolphins but only for 72 hours. The court did not extend the Tepo but was hearing the animal advocates’ appeal for its extension.
With the death of Wen Wen, Velasco said they will go after the government agencies involved and Resorts World Sentosa.
“The best way to move forward would be to hold them liable for Wen Wen’s death under Philippine laws or under the Animal Welfare Act,” he said.
Anna Cabrera of PAWS said the dolphins were shipped out of the country on Nov. 17, 19 and 22. Wen Wen was in the last batch and died en route to Singapore.
“All this time we were going to court to follow the process and behind our backs the dolphins had already been spirited way,” she said.
Trixie Concepcion of EII refuted claims that species of dolphin normally died at the age of 10.
“That age is a juvenile age for them. They normally reach the age of 70 in the wild,” she said.