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  Straits Times Forum 21 Oct 06
Nature groups against oceanarium at Sentosa
Letter from SPCA, NSS, Acres

Louis also sent an email about the letter with this message
"We are urging everyone to also voice your concerns and send letters to the Forum (stforum@sph.com.sg) and to REACH (Reaching Everyone for Active Citizenry@ Home, formerly Feedback Unit) (reach@reach.gov.sg)."

WE REFER to the report, 'Showtime for Genting and Kerzner' (ST, Oct 17), which highlighted the features promised in the contest for the Sentosa integrated resort.

The news is ominous for animal welfare, to say the least. It also sends what we think is the wrong message about the conservation of our increasingly threatened marine heritage.

The implications are far reaching, not only from the point of view of trapping, catching and confining aquatic wildlife, but also that of the employment of it for human amusement and financial gain.

We object strongly to such proposals which would mean a giant step backwards for animal welfare and nature awareness in Singapore.

Genting's proposed Quest Marine Life Park, which boasts of housing 700,000 marine creatures, is indeed 'staggering'. The concept of 'diving with whale sharks' and 'hand-feeding of tiger sharks' displays a lack of respect for these magnificent creatures in having to adapt and cater to such whims.

The reference to this oceanarium becoming a regional centre for marine education and conservation by no means justifies its existence, when it involves confining limitless numbers of animals to attract and entertain the public.

The whale sharks, just to cite one example, will be wild-caught and will thus deplete already-vulnerable populations of these marine giants. Moreover, to keep the exhibits going, more and more wild animals will have to be caught.

There are a number of laudable whale-shark conservation research efforts; we should be made more aware of and support such scientific efforts to understand these animals and look after their habitats.

Our priorities should be on celebrating and preserving wild animals and wild places, endeavours to which Singapore has been making an increasing commitment.

Singapore has shown itself to be proactive in animal welfare through its ban on performing wild animals in circuses since 2002.

In view of this, we hope that the authorities would not approve of the coming attractions, which compromise animal welfare and conservation through exploitation, while mistakenly portraying and subjecting animals to an unnatural environment and circumstances.

Deirdre Moss (Ms)
Executive Officer
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Shawn Lum
Nature Society Singapore

Louis Ng
Animal Concerns Research and Education Society

Whale Sharks in Captivity on the Marine Conservation News website "It has been argued that such aquarium exhibits provide valuable publicity and raise public awareness to the plight of whale sharks in the wild. However the lifespan of the sharks in captivity has often been very short and tends to negate such positive aspects. Survival times ranged from as little as 3 days to the current record of nearly 10 years, dependant on their initial condition on arrival, as some animals had been injured during capture."

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