SPCA renews call for Resorts World Sentosa to free captive dolphins

An animal advocacy group today issued a fresh demand for a Singaporean tourist resort to free dolphins held captive in its aquariums, weeks after a video of a distressed animal went viral. 

It was the second time in five years that the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or SPCA, urged Resorts World Sentosa to free them following a recent viral video showing a dolphin banging its head against the wall of its tank. The footage was purportedly taken at the resort

For years, SPCA and ACRES have campaigned against their captivity, but to no avail,” SPCA wrote in a statement today, also referencing the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society, or ACRES. “Four of the 27 [resort] dolphins that were caught from the wild have died so far.”

The SPCA first called for their release in 2014 after the fourth dolphin’s death.

“The most humane option now is to send the dolphins to a sanctuary where rehabilitation efforts can begin,” it added. “We also urge people to think twice about visiting such establishments – vote no with your wallet.”

When the video was posted Dec. 1, the resort said it was “uncertain” it had been filmed there. 

At the time, a spokesperson who refused to give her name told Coconuts Singapore the behavior displayed in the clip might be natural among cetaceans.

Inherently Wild, an organization opposed to dolphin captivity, says such “destructive behaviors” are the “result of boredom, distress, and frustration related to an unnatural environment.” 

The 30-second clip was brought to light by international anti-dolphin and whale captivity organization Empty The Tanks earlier this month when it was posted to Facebook, where it was watched more than 400,000 times. 

“Some very concerning footage has been brought to our attention by an Empty The Tanks Supporter of a dolphin repeatedly slamming their head into the wall at S.E.A. Aquarium in Singapore. This distressing behavior is one of the many reasons dolphins do not belong in captivity,” the caption read. 

The resort houses marine life at its S.E.A. Aquarium and the Adventure Cove Waterpark, where Dolphin Island is. 

Earlier this year, the resort’s Dolphin Island, where visitors can swim with dolphins, take selfies and pet them, was called out in an international report on animal welfare at major zoos and aquariums. 

Dolphin-related concerns included the “artificial and barren nature of their captive environment,” and stress from performing for audiences several times a day, according to the World Animal Protection report titled The Show Can’t Go On

Members of the nonprofit as well as those from Change for Animals Foundation had between August 2018 and May visited Singapore’s Dolphin Island and Australia’s Sea World, among other major aquariums. 

“Shows at these venues saw dolphins performing choreographed routines set to music while trainers command tricks,” the report read.

In August, a US-based nonprofit helped evacuate dolphins and other neglected animals from a run-down hotel on Bali after one died and years of alleged abuse.



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This article, SPCA renews call for Resorts World Sentosa to free captive dolphins, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!