Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Subic Bay Marine Exploratorium's Importation of dolphins slammed

By Tonette Orejas - Philippine Daily Inquirer - A marine park at the Subic Bay Freeport has been assailed by a concerned group for importing 18 bottle-nosed dolphins from the Solomon Islands to be trained for performances at a similar park in Singapore.

Trixie Concepcion, representative of Earth Island Institute in the Philippines, said seven dolphins arrived on Dec. 8 on a chartered UPS plane from Honiara, the Solomon Islands, for Ocean Adventure Park at Subic.

The rest of the dolphins are due to arrive soon, Concepcion said in a statement to the Inquirer.

John Corcoran, president of Subic Bay Marine Exploratorium (SBME), operator of Ocean Adventure Park, confirmed the dolphins’ arrival.

“They are currently in a quarantine facility and are being taken care of by a dedicated staff of Filipinos,” said Corcoran in a telephone interview Saturday.

The animals are going to be trained at Ocean Adventure for about a year but are not going to be part of the park’s shows, he said.

The park already has seven bottle-nosed dolphins, a false killer whale, a spotted dolphin and a rough-toothed dolphin.

Citing nondisclosure agreements, Corcoran declined to answer further questions on the dolphin importation or the company it was doing the training for.

In her statement, Concepcion identified the company as Resorts World Park in Singapore.

The importation was covered by international and local permits, according to Edwyn Alesna, chief of the fisheries quarantine and wildlife regulatory section of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.

“They were legally imported,” Alesna said in a telephone interview.

He said Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap signed the local permits.

“They are for training, not for the local park,” he added.

Concepcion said the export of dolphins from the Solomon Islands was controversial because the animals could not be declared sustainable since there were no scientific or baseline studies on the current stock and population of dolphins in that area.

This was based on the findings of the Cetacean Specialist Group (CSG) of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the technical advisory body to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), she said.

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