“Few things are as magical as spotting a double rainbow. Swimming with dolphins is one of them. Unfortunately, unlike countries like Hawaii or Australia, dolphins aren’t native to the waters of Singapore, and not all of us have the privilege to travel overseas to do that. The next best alternative? Dolphin interaction programmes at Dolphin Island.” – Marine Life Park Blog, the official blog for Resorts World Sentosa’s Marine Life Park
As magical as it may sound, the reality is far from it. The above, taken from the Marine Life Park blog promoting the dolphin interaction programme by the marine park, runs contrary to documented cases of dolphin sighting in Singapore’s local waters.
Nature lovers who frequent our southern islands have reported dolphin sightings, documenting these in videos and blogs. The most recent sighting of dolphins in Singapore by Rene Ong was last month near Kusu Island and her sighting is being captured in the Singapore Biodiversity Records.
Video of dolphin in Singapore
[youtube id=”m1d_LyGwdfs” align=”center” mode=”normal”] It would appear that wild dolphins do visit Singapore waters, although it is unclear if they reside here or pass our shores in migration.
With the availability of dolphins in our waters, why is RWS advertising to the contrary?
Dolphins sightings are also not the only indicator of their presence in our waters. Carcasses of dead dolphins have been washed ashore, the most recent known and publicised being in July this year.
Commenting on the incident, “Mr N. Sivasothi, a biological sciences lecturer at NUS, says that the museum had previously dealt with washed up dolphin carcasses in 2005 and 2008… He said the most commonly sighted dolphin species in our waters is the Indo-Pacific humpbacked dolphin, also known as the pink dolphin.”
Local bloggers keen in marine conservation have also documented cases of other dolphin carcasses found on our shores. The Indo-Pacific humpbacked dolphin, the same species that are exhibited at Underwater World Singapore (UWS), seems to be a regular.
Earlier this week, a report by Wildlife Watcher Singapore in collaboration with the Sea Shepard Conservation Society indicated that the dolphins at 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”.
However, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) has indicated that it found the dolphins to be in “satisfactory condition”.
In addition, are RWS and UWS investing in the conservation of Singapore’s local marine life, if they do indeed have an interest in dolphin welfare?
It was also reported in media that Resort World Sentosa’s SEA Aquarium and Dolphin Island was granted accreditation by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. Should an accreditation institution that purports to be proficient in the husbandry of dolphins, and have advertised itself as a champion of conservation, be providing such misinformation about the natural habitat of dolphins?
Update: Marine Life Park’s blog has been amended to reflect that dolphins do exist in Singapore in the wld.