Block on S'pore-bound dolphins not extended

SINGAPORE - Inaccurate and sensational. That is what Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) called the allegations made by a group which initiated a court action to stop the export of 25 wild-caught dolphins from the Philippines to Singapore.

Yesterday, a Philippines court decided not to extend the 72-hour temporary environment-protection order, issued last Friday.

In a statement, an RWS spokesman said: "We regret that the group which initiated this court action had gone on various public platforms with inaccurate statements pertaining to our dolphins, perpetuating the same falsehoods that we had repeatedly made numerous clarifications and corrections to in the past."

The Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins - caught in waters off the Solomon Islands, near Papua New Guinea - are slated to be showcased at RWS' Marine Life Park, which is expected to open in December.

The RWS spokesman added that the integrated resort is "pleased" that the Philippines court decided to lift the order and is looking forward to "welcoming" the dolphins.

"Members of our Marine Life Park team are no different from many animal lovers, except that they have chosen a vocation or career to learning and caring for their charges," he added.

On the court order being lifted, a home-grown animal-welfare group said that the "fight is far from over" and it will file a motion for reconsideration.

Mr Louis Ng, chief executive of the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres), said: "We will be launching the next phase of our campaign in Singapore shortly to increase the pressure on RWS to respond positively to public concerns about the plight of the dolphins."

The Earth Island Institute, one of the environmental groups that filed the civil suit, said in a press release on its Philippines website that it intends to file an appeal.

Mr Ng said Acres remains confident "that the truth will prevail and that justice will be served for the dolphins".

"We look forward to the day when these dolphins are returned to their home in the Solomon Islands and possibly reunited with their family members," he said.

nggwen@sph.com.sg


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