Tuesday 28 October 2014

Awesome Ocean - a twisted story of a dolphin tale.

A Dolphin Tale: Changing Minds in South East Asia

Our oceans are in trouble and our focus here at Awesome Ocean is to bring that plight to the masses. We are also determined to showcase the people, organizations and facilities on the the front lines of ocean conservation. You didn't do that with Ric O Barry though did you who has won Environmental awards for his efforts on the front lines.
Globally our oceans are feeling the anthropogenic impact. Our growing population is putting even greater demands on our oceans - for a host of reasons.
S.E.A. Aquarium in Singapore
In the western world (Europe and the Americas), major conservation projects have been moving forward. They have like Blackfish and Empty the tanks. Most of those facilities, and the public that supports them, understand the vital role they play in preserving and protecting the ocean and its inhabitants. However, it is in Asia where there is a lot of work still to do. Because of the culture and tradition of many of these people - there is still great pressure put on marine life.
But that is changing - however incrementally - and we must recognize and support that change.
One such instance is the Marine Life Park in Singapore. It is one of Singapore's newest facilities and it is striving to find a way to meaningfully help protect and conserve ocean life.
S.E.A. Aquarium Open Ocean Tank
When I learned that Marine Life Park had just become the second zoological facility in Asia to become AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) accredited, I had to see and visit the facility for myself. After all, to be AZA accredited, Marine Life Park had to meet the strictest criteria. That is currently a rare feat in this part of the world.
Dolphin Island Entrance Singapore
The Marine Life Park is broken up into two sections - the S.E.A. Aquarium and Dolphin Island. The S.E.A. Aquarium, or South East Asia Aquarium, displays native fish, sharks, and rays that call South East Asia waters home. Dolphin Island is a dolphin interaction experience that displays Solomon Island dolphins that once called the waters around Singapore home. That is until habitat destruction, pollution, and development put an end to their natural environment.

That is not true and it is wrong of you to try to justify it 
This is the solomon islands drive hunt

 Twenty-four Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins, captured in the waters of the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific, are being held at Resorts World's Marine Life Park attraction, which plans to open to the public on 30th September, offering interaction programmes. Twenty-seven dolphins were purchased by Genting between 2008 and 2009 and three have already died. Meanwhile, continued live captures of bottlenose dolphins in Solomon Islands waters have been condemned by scientific experts, CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) and the Solomon Islands government itself.

CITES, did you see that Eric Davis, even CITES raised concerns it has nothing to do with their habitat.


Part of Dolphin Island's over 4,000,000 gallon facility.
Of course, rather than bothering with the truth - keyboard activists and Internet bullies have attempted to turn this visit into a personal attack. As we see over and over again, it's never about education or persuasion from that side. It's about abuse and threats for anyone who does not conform to the narrative. These extremists have tried to attack me personally over this visit.
Once again you twist up a story, read above, CITES expressed concern and as you see here ACRES, Animals Concerns Research and Education Society expressed their concern again yesterday see here
As for personal attack do you mean like the time you attacked Cher, or like Ric O'Barry last week? Or is it a case of its OK for you to do it but not for anyone to give you it back?
But what's really going on here?
Rather than get into the mud where these people live, this presents a great opportunity to use the attention for the forces of good. So let's take a moment and speak the truth about this facility and why it's great that this park is making inroads in this part of the world.
A dolphin is dwarfed by the size and space of part of it's habitat
A dolphin is dwarfed by the size and space of part of it's habitat
First, the main attack has come from the fact that the dolphins at this facility were collected from the Solomon Islands in 2007 - a chain of islands a few hundred miles north of Australia. So, without looking any further into the issue - the attack was launched. Of course it was looked into, people have been trying to stop it since before they set off and despite you making out it is marvellous dolphins have and still are dying there.  The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA Singapore) is now calling on the facility to release its remaining 23 wild-caught dolphins.  see here yet another has died! The fact that these dolphins were collected recently is all that matters. The fact that these dolphins were collected from a drive hunt is the issue here, there is no need for it and at one time it had been phased out all together. Whilst people keep buying they will continue until CITES really get fed up and intervene properly.
But here is, as the late Paul Harvey would say, the rest of the story.
This facility purchased these dolphins from locals in the Solomon Islands who have hunted dolphins for the last few hundred years. The hunt was banned in 2003 and restarted in 2007 when Mark Simmons and Ocean Embassy sent dolphins to Dubai. Mark Simmons made the statement himself

Similar to subsistence hunting in Alaska, they eat the meat of the dolphins and use their teeth and bones for clothing and jewelry. Again, it's something these people have been doing for generations.

No its not as in the links above it was banned in 2003, restarted to stock Dubai and is in the process of being banned again see CITES, they aren't armchair activists are they so would you care to say that they are wrong?? 
Dolphin Tooth Head Piece Photo Credit: Otago Museum
In 2007, Marine Life Park offered the local population money to purchase some of the dolphins. Dolphins that would otherwise be slaughtered.  The local villages accepted, and because of that 20+ dolphins were saved out of the traditional 100 that are hunted. That is a lie again. Those lucky dolphins now live at the AZA accredited Marine Life Park. Nothing lucky about restarting a hunt that had been banned in 2003 is there?
As a side note, Ric O'Barry, an infamous animals activist, would also offer to pay the locals to not hunt dolphins in 2013. However, O'Barry welched on his agreement. Did you actually read your own link lol. I guess not so you would be wise to go back and read it, rather than put your own twisted spin on it.
Quote from YOUR link ''EII disputes those claims, however. EII director Lawrence Makili told Radio Australia that after $300,000 was invested in individual communities, a group in the capital seized the rest of the funds and did not distribute them.
"The renegade group grabbed funds that were supposed to go to the community and that resulted in a lot of the discord," David Phillips, who oversees international dolphin protection efforts for Earth Island, told the Guardian. "In our view there are proper charges of corruption in what has happened in the community."

Once again as you always do in your articles you pick out the bits that suit what you want to say missing out the actual facts - In reality the Fanalei chief also backs up what happened there. Why did you not research that properly before putting into print something that isn't true?

Fanalei chief Willson Filei, who had helped strike the deal with IMMP, condemned the killings. “The Honiara based committee was only formed when they learn that money was actually coming in. They refused and discourage us at the first place,” he told the local daily Solomon Star. “But when money came in they tried to push their way in. They then messed up the whole project and encourage villagers to return to hunt. I wash my hands from this recent string of slaughter.”
  Because of his actions, the locals killed almost 1,000 dolphins - the equivalent of almost 10 years of hunts. They also learned not to trust westerners and will likely resist ending this practice even more now.
Once again you print something about Ric O'Barry that isn't true, that is shameful reporting and why would that be?? 
But back to our story.

An Under Water Tunnel at the S.E.A. Aquarium
An Under Water Tunnel at the S.E.A. Aquarium
Let's be clear - no one is a fan of simply going out and collecting wild animals for public display.
However, what needs to be celebrated is that Dolphin Island at the Marine Life Park has now joined the AZA. So what, the issue is YOU put yourself forward as the shill for Seaworld. Seaworld spent quite a bit of time stating they do not support drive hunts, yet YOU seem to think that is OK. You can't be both sides of the fence!
This means that as long as they are a member of the AZA they can no longer participate in the collection of wild Marine Mammals. This is an amazing accomplishment that needs to be praised. Despite the fact that activists think you are too stupid to find the truth you didn't find the truth did you? Or maybe you did but chose not to use it, in order to mislead people yet again.- having a park in this part of the world that understands and commits to ending wild collection and abiding by the AZA regulations is a huge victory. The Filipino animal rights people, ACRES still have campaigns running and disagree with you .
It's a step forward in a part of the world where dolphins are largely not viewed the way the western world views them. But we know - angry tweets and publicity stunts get media attention - not science.
 The scientists above state differently .
The infamous "BlackFish Star" Naomi Rose, who was famously a part of the botched Keiko Release project, plenty of people see the Keiko project a different way especially as people couldn't stop doing waterworks with him and wouldn't let him be wild. See here is being hosted at the M Hotel in Singapore - not to visit Dolphin Island, but to criticize and condemn it without ever setting foot inside. She has never talked to the trainers or animal care team. She hasn't even bothered to see the animals. Why do you think that trainers are more knowledgeable that scientists and CITES? The clue is in their title - trainers - it doesn't make them animal experts or vets, or even scientists so why would she need to speak to them? 
Why? Because it is never about the science. The truth doesn't sell. Controversy sells. The animals are just bit players.  What a ridiculous thing to say, there is concern about sustainability, and 3 of them have already died, don't try to make a drama out of something that isn't one!
The dolphins at Dolphin Island spending time with their talented trainers.
At Awesome Ocean we spend a lot of time bringing out tough topics and exploring them in-depth. We don't just rely on Twitter mobs and drive-by hashtags. We hope that, like us, you take the time to find the truth because there are a lot of people out there with a vested interest in hiding it from you. You haven't though have you, on almost every article you print you either slate someone else or put in half truths, as in this one, instead of just finding bits that fitted with what you wanted to say why didn't you find all the information and then say you were wrong, because you were.
So take a hard look at the world around you - including zoological organizations and marine facilities. But don't be a lemming and rely on 140 hate-filled characters and celebrity wannabe scientists. They aren't wannabe, they are scientists you fool, for example Naomi Rose, who incidently you also like to call names, is a member of the International Whaling Commissions Scientific Committee. She has published popular and scientific articles and lectures at several universities. She participates in task forces and workshops at International, National and State Level. She received her PhD on the social dynamics of killer whales in 1992 from the University of California in Santa Cruz. As for the others you call on Blackfish see here.If a facility like Marine Life Park can get a foothold in this part of the world and promote the standards and regulations of organizations like the AZA - then we should support that.
It's the only way we can change the minds of people who have long viewed marine animals in a very different light than the rest of us. As I said earlier ACRES who live and work in the Philippines disagree with you and believe they should be rehabilitated back in Solomon Islands waters as do many who unlike yourself do not agree that these creatures should be in captivity.

As for the whole point of this article, you got caught supporting a place which buys drive hunt dolphins, and again you missed vital information like the drive hunt being banned in 2003, CITES involvement, the Chief speaking out in Solomon Island news to make it fit into your own view and that is not a good way to put over a story is it??
Meeting a dolphin underwater in part of the 4,000,000 gallon habitat
As I stated at the beginning of this article, zoological facilities in Asia need to be praised when they help elevate the standard of animal care in this part of the world.
That is exactly what the Marine Life Park in Singapore is doing, and why it deserves our praise.

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