Underwater World Singapore to close, animals sent to China

A diver dressed as Santa Claus feeds fish during Christmas festivities at Underwater World Singapore. (Photo: Reuters)

Tourist attraction Underwater World Singapore (UWS) will cease operations on 26 June, its operator Haw Par said in a statement on Monday (6 June).

The pink dolphins, fur seals and otters have already been moved to the Chimelong Ocean Kingdom (COK), an oceanarium in Zhuhai, China.

Haw Par said UWS’ lease in Sentosa is due to expire in less than two years. As such, it made finding “suitable homes early for our animals is a priority”, especially for endangered species like the pink dolphins.

It said it made the choice of the Chinese site after nearly a year of reviewing facilities, adding that COK had “one of the finest facilities in the world and a strong staff with expertise in marine mammal veterinary and husbandry care, as well as an active breeding and conservation programme”.

The transfer was “approved by the authorities in Singapore and China and the animals were relocated last week”, Haw Par said.

In 2014, the otters and the pink dolphins were at the centre of a 30-page report critical of the animals’ welfare.

Written by the Wildlife Watchers (Singapore) in collaboration with the Sea Shepard Conservation Soceity (SCSS), the report raised concerns over the conditions and health of the animals. Pictures from the report showed a dolphin with a visible infection and a wound on her bottom jaw.

UWS responded saying that the dolphin mentioned in the report had been diagnosed with a form of non-contagious skin cancer, but that its trainers had minimised the animal’s appearance at the main pool.