GMA News Online

PHL court lauded for dolphin export ban

October 16, 2012 3:24pm
Flipper no doubt would be jumping for joy as some of his cousins are now safe from becoming show animals in Singapore.
Singapore-based animal welfare group Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES) commended the urgent action of the Philippine court on behalf of more than two dozen dolphins that were slated for export to the island nation.
Louis Ng, ACRES executive director told AsiaOne on Oct. 15, "We very seldom get a chance to right a wrong, but we now have the chance to do so."
Quezon City Regional Trial Court issued a 72-hour Temporary Environmental Protection Order (TEPO) on Oct. 12, an hour after environment and animal welfare groups filed a petition to prevent a permit to re-export 25 dolphins currently being kept and trained at Ocean Adventure Park, Subic.
The petitioners include Earth Island Institute, Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) and the Compassion and Responsibility Philippines.
Judge Bernelito Fernandez issued the TEPO on the grounds that the exportation will "result in grave and irreparable damage to the population of the dolphins from the Solomon Islands."
Twenty-five Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins were caught in waters off the Solomon Islands from 2008 to 2011, near Papua New Guinea. They are supposed to be showcased as  show animals at Resorts World Sentosa's (RWS) Marine Life Park, which is scheduled to open in December 7.
Ng also said, "These dolphins should never have been caught from the wild, and the right thing for RWS to do is repatriate the dolphins back to the Solomon Islands."
Meanwhile a Marine Life Park spokesperson told Today Online on Oct. 13 that the dolphins are doing well in the Philippines.
He added, "(T)he movement of marine animals, including dolphins, is governed by the United Nations Environment Program which upholds the policies of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)."
CITES is an international agreement which aims to guarantee that wild animals and plants trade will not threaten the survival of the species.
"With a mission to promote marine education, conservation and research, Marine Life Park strives to offer an educational and memorable experience that inspires a generation of stewards for the environment," the spokesperson also said.
The RWS Marine Life Park is about 8 hectares--about the size of 13 football fields. It is expected to be the world's largest oceanarium  with more than 100,000 animals from 800 marine species. 
RWS spokesperson also told AsiaOne that the dolphins would be on display only in 2013, to give them time to settle into their new "home."  — TJD, GMA News
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