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UWS dolphins and otters kept in poor conditions: Wildlife groups

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A report by Wildlife Watcher Singapore in collaboration with the Sea Shepard Conservation Society has indicated that the animal at Underwater World Singapore (UWS) were living in poor conditions, to which UWS has responded that one of the pink dolphin at Dolphin Lagoon was "suffering from a non-transmissable form of skin cancer".

"On 1st July 2014, a member of the public alerted Wildlife Watcher - Singapore and Sea Shepherd Singapore about the conditions of the dolphins kept in Dolphin Lagoon at Underwater World Singapore," the Sea Shepherds announced on its Facebook page.

"In collaboration with Wildlife Watcher Singapore, Sea Shepherd launched an investigation into the matter with total of two separate inspections, conducted in the months of July and August 2014."

The report found that the dolphins and other animals were kept in "degrading conditions", and that "corrosion of the pool beams were visible from audience’s viewpoint."

"The dolphins and fur seals were made to display and perform unnatural acts for entertainment does not represent any conservation efforts," indicated the report.

The report also confirmed that an observation made by a member of public about an adult dolphin that has a
visible head and mouth injury with skin problems was true.

UWS has subsequently clarified to media that the dolphin, named Han, was suffering from skin cancer and currently does not participate in any performance or programme. Han is currently being treated.

The report further added that music playing at high volume, at times up to 101 decibels, and noise level generated by audience during the show are a stress-causing factor for the animals. The dolphins and fur seals were also made to perform unnatural acts during the performances.

In addition to an evaluation on the living conditions of the dolphins, the report also indicated that the Asian small-clawed otters housed at UWS were kept in "sub-standard conditions" and experienced "an obvious lack of welfare and serves no educational and conservational purpose."

UWS has responded to say that it offers the otters the "opportunity to explore different stimuli in different enclosures at both the front and the back of the house".

While the AVA has indicated that it found the dolphins to be in "satisfactory condition", ACRES has voiced support for the campaign by Wildlife Watcher and called for UWS and other companies to "make a moral and ethical decision to end the confinement of dolphins in captivity."

The full report by Wildlife Watcher and the Sea Shepherds is available online.