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SPCA calls on RWS to release remaining 23 dolphins

In the wake of a second dolphin death at the Marine Life Park in 18 months, SPCA Singapore has called on Resorts World Sentosa to release its remaining 23 wild-caught dolphins.

SINGAPORE: In the wake of the death of another Marine Life Park dolphin, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA Singapore) on Wednesday (June 4) called on Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) to release its remaining 23 wild-caught dolphins.

The death of Sharmila, a bottlenose dolphin, was announced in a blogpost by the Marine Life Park on May 12. This is the fourth dolphin death linked to the Marine Life Park. In 2010, two dolphins meant for the park died in Langkawi due to a water-borne bacterial infection. A third dolphin died on board a flight to Singapore in November, 2012.

"We are conducting tests to confirm the exact cause of death. Prior medical tests indicated that she was healthy. We are closely monitoring all our animals, and as always, no effort or resources will be spared in ensuring the health and well-being of our dolphins at Dolphin Island," the park said in the post. No updates have since been provided.

Said SPCA Singapore Executive Director Corinne Fong in its June 4 media statement: "In a country like Singapore, with the Wild Animals and Birds Act in place prohibiting any person from killing, taking or keeping any wild animal, it is extremely disappointing that we are accepting these wild-caught dolphins for the purpose of forcing them to adapt to an unnatural lifestyle in RWS' Marine Life Park attraction.

"Subjecting these wild dolphins to a forced lifestyle in captivity, tamed against their will and introducing paid interaction programmes with the public marketed as 'engagement learning', is, in essence, unabashed animal exploitation.

"The act of catching and confining these animals, in limited spaces and training them to become something they are not, cannot possibly contribute towards constructive education of the public on marine life and environmental issues."

In response to the SPCA's call, the Marine Life Park issued the following statement through a spokesperson: “There will always be divergent views about animals in human care and in zoological environment. Our viewpoint is that well-run zoological facilities provide strong and inspiring messages to visitors and can make a tangible difference to animal conservation. We do not have dolphin shows. We welcome interested individuals to read more about our animals and conservation efforts on our blog at http://mlp.rwsentosablog.com.”

(Editor's note: This article has been amended because the Marine Life Park has clarified an inaccuracy in the SPCA's blogpost about the number of dolphin deaths on its grounds.)

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