Sharmila, an Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin captured from the wild in the Solomon Islands, has died at Dolphin Island, part of Resorts World’s Marine Life Park in Sentosa, Singapore. Her death was announced in a blog by the dolphinarium on May 12.
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA Singapore) is now calling on the facility to release its remaining 23 wild-caught dolphins. The park only opened in 2013. 27 dolphins were caught in the Solomon Islands to stock the facility but two of the animals already died before the tank was even built. The other 25 individuals were “stored” in the Philippines until the dolphinarium in Singapore was ready. 24 dolphins arrived in Singapore. “Wen Wen”, a dolphin about 10 years of age, died suddenly on the flight over.
In September 2013, before the opening of “Dolphin Island” at Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore’s Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES), supported by WDC, already launched a campaign to urge the Genting Group, which owns Resorts World Sentosa, to free the remaining 24 dolphins.
In 2003, Mexico imported 28 wild-caught Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins from the Solomon Islands. At least 12 of these dolphins died within five years of their transport to Mexico, an appalling mortality rate for a species that can live for 40-50 years. This resulted in a ban on the importation and exportation of live cetaceans for entertainment purposes in Mexico in 2006 and Senator Jorge Legorreta Ordorica, Chairman of the Committee of Environment, Natural Resources and Fisheries in the Mexican Congress, urged Singapore’s Ministry of National Development in a letter in 2008 to “consider our experiences and the disturbing mortality suffered by these animals when evaluating permits for live dolphin imports from Solomon Islands”.
As revealed in a study conducted by the South Pacific Whale Research Consortium, the number of dolphins that have been captured in the Solomon Islands is far more than the population can sustain. Up to 50 dolphins have been captured per year in recent years.
WDC continues to work around the world to bring about an end to wild captures and the incarceration of whales and dolphins in captivity.