Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

DENR to validate Ocean Adventure’s environment certificate

By Katherine Adraneda The Philippine Star

Environment Secretary Michael Defensor is set to order the validation of the Environment Compliance Certificate (ECC) issued by the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) to Ocean Adventure, following the death of the third marine animal in the facility last week.

Defensor said the DENR would have to validate the ECC in order to ensure the living condition and welfare of the animals in the marine park that offers dolphin shows and interaction with false killer whales.

"From the start, I have always raised the issue of competence of the ecology center of the SBMA, which issues the ECCs," Defensor told The Star. "(But) the SBMA has always (taken) the position that they have competence."

Defensor said they will ask a report from SBMA’s ecology center on the death of false killer whales in the marine facility.

Last July 8, a 13-year-old female false killer whale named Hook died after days of illness. Initially, Hook was believed to have suffered from gastro-intestinal illness. But the Subic Bay Marine Exploratorium (SBME) is still conducting tests to determine the actual cause of death.

In July 2001, a juvenile male false killer whale named Deuce died in the park. This was followed by the death of a female killer whale named Coral in January 2004.

Advocates for the protection of animals, Earth Island Institute-Philippines (EII-Phils) and the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), have asked the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) to conduct an investigation on the deaths of the animals.

The groups also urged the BAI, DENR and Department of Health to create a team that would check the facilities in the marine park and its use of marine mammals for amusement.

Trixie Concepcion, coordinator of the EII-Phils, explained that environmentalists have claimed that these animals die prematurely while in captivity since the animals are inherently not suited for confinement.

She said that in the wilds, dolphins and whales roam the sea for hundreds of kilometers in a day.

The abrupt change in their systems brought about by captivity disrupts the animal’s overall behavior and can affect its immune systems.

This, she pointed out, may explain why dolphins and whales in captivity are more susceptible to infections, and consequently live shorter lives.

Concepcion further noted that false killer whales live up to 62 year, but confinement in an animal park like Ocean Adventure will not allow them to reach maturity.

Ocean Adventure is a dolphin park operated by the SBME


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