ACRES to appeal against dolphins being sent to RWS

Alvina Soh Channel NewsAsia 19 Oct 12;

SINGAPORE: Animal rights groups in Singapore and the Philippines have appealed to the Philippine court to prevent 25 dolphins from being exported to Singapore's Marine Life Park.

A 72-hour protection order has been lifted, but the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES) is still fighting to prevent the export of the dolphins to the marine park in Sentosa.

The temporary environment protection order was issued last week after some animal rights groups in the Philippines filed a civil suit.

The order barred the shipment of dolphins caught in the waters of Solomon Islands to the Marine Life Park.

The court had earlier decided on this on the grounds that doing so would cause irreparable damage to the dolphins, which are currently kept at Ocean Adventure Park in Subic.

ACRES is requesting for the judge who lifted the temporary environment protection order to step down.

Chief executive of ACRES, Louis Ng, said: "We're also going to ask that the judge recuse herself. She stated in the courts that these dolphins are pets. You can't say that these dolphins are pets, because they are wild animals.

"We're hopeful that the courts will review this case, follow the recommendations of the first judge who reviewed the scientific literature available and realise that this trade is unsustainable."

ACRES is also launching a website to build public support for its campaign to send the dolphins back to the Solomon Islands.

The animal rights group has proposed that the dolphins spend about 20 months in Solomon Islands getting used to their natural habitat before they are released into the wild.

In response, Resorts World Sentosa said it has spent "considerable time educating ACRES on facts" about its facility, animal care and intent.

It added that it will spare no effort and time in ensuring that the marine animals get the best care possible.

RWS added, "We urge ACRES to focus on areas where it can constructively contribute to marine conservation."

- CNA/cc

Motion to block export of RWS dolphins to Singapore filed
Sumita Sreedharan Today Online 19 Oct 12;

SINGAPORE - A Motion for Reconsideration has been filed in the Philippines to block the export of 25 wild-caught dolphins by Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) to Singapore today, according to the Animal Concerns Research & Education Society (ACRES).

The motion was filed by the Earth Island Institute and the Philippine Animal Welfare Society.

The parties also requested that the judge who lifted the temporary environment protection order be recused over comments she made that "dolphins are pets".

Chief executive of ACRES Louis Ng spoke to reporters this morning at the launch of ACRES new campaign to stop the import of the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins by RWS.

The website entitled www.saddestdolphins.com highlights information such as why their capture could lead to the endangerment this rare species of dolphins.

ACRES hopes to rehabilitate the dolphins and eventually release them to their natural habitat in the Solomon Islands.

"If RWS is really committed to marine conservation, this is the right thing to do," said Mr Ng.

Animal rights groups in Philippines resist export of wild dolphins to RWS
David Ee Straits Times 19 Oct 12;

Environmental and animal rights groups in the Philippines are refusing to concede defeat in their fight to prevent 25 Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins from being re-exported to the Marine Life Park at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS).

They plan to file an appeal today for the courts to re-consider their decision not to extend the 72-hour "temporary environmental protection order" granted last Friday, according to local animal rights group Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres). The protection order expired on Wednesday, paving the way for the dolphins to leave the Philippines.

Acres executive director Louis Ng was speaking to reporters this morning at the launch of Acres new campaign to draw public attention to the plight of the dolphins.

Its website www.saddestdolphins.com features a video that highlights the depletion of the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin in the Guadalcanal region of the Solomon Islands. Members of the public can also send personal appeals directly to RWS from the site.

Philippine activists defiant on dolphins
RWS reiterates that import meets regulations; care will be taken of marine animals
David Ee Straits Times 20 Oct 12;

ENVIRONMENTAL and animal rights groups in the Philippines are refusing to concede defeat in their fight to prevent 25 Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins from being sent to the Marine Life Park at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS).

Yesterday, they appealed to the courts there to reconsider the decision not to extend the "temporary environmental protection order" they had secured on Oct 12. The protection order expired on Wednesday, paving the way for the dolphins to leave the Philippines for Singapore.

Their appeal received backing from Singapore animal rights group Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres), which has opposed RWS' exhibiting the dolphins at the park, which opens in December.

The dolphins, which were originally from the Solomon Islands, will only go on show next year.

Yesterday, Acres executive director Louis Ng contended that RWS' compliance with the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites) was "flawed".

At a press conference, Acres said that RWS' action had contributed to the depletion of the dolphin population in the Solomon Islands.

It cited a scientific study carried out by the Solomon Islands' government between 2009 and last year which found that 108 dolphins had been exported from the islands since 2003. This was unsustainable, said the report.

It also said that if the population is not to be depleted, no more than one dolphin could be removed from the Guadalcanal area of the islands every five years. This is where RWS' dolphins come from.

RWS imported 27 dolphins between 2008 and 2009. Two died from a bacterial infection while being held in Langkawi, Malaysia. Mr Ng yesterday launched a new Acres campaign to draw public attention to the dolphins.

RWS yesterday declined to say when the dolphins are expected to leave the Philippines. It reiterated that it has fully adhered to Cites regulations, and has spent considerable time educating Acres on facts about its facility, animal care and intent.

"We want to move on to the matters at hand. We urge Acres to focus on areas where it can constructively contribute to marine conservation, rather than engage in online antics to encourage netizens to harass or heckle us and our Facebook fans."

It added that RWS has and will continue to exercise utmost care for all the marine animals at the park. It is also run by experts and marine specialists who are animal lovers themselves.

"They collectively represent over 300 years of experience working in more than 60 reputable zoological facilities globally. Such reassurances have been repeatedly communicated to Acres on numerous occasions."

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