The Straits Times: Marine park gets ready for opening

The Straits Times reports that the Marine Life Park Oceanarium’s construction at Resorts World Sentosa is complete, and animals are arriving here daily from overseas. Most sea creatures were caught in the wild and the dolphins are still enclosed at Subic Bay.

Marine park gets ready for opening

THE upcoming Marine Life Park at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) is on track to open by the end of this year. Construction is complete, and 15 per cent of the park’s animals have already moved in or are now in quarantine in Sungei Tengah.

The 8ha Sentosa park, about the size of 13 football fields, will be one of the world’s largest oceanariums. It will house some 100,000 marine creatures drawn from 800 species. These will include schools of palm-size yellow tang, clownfish, black-tipped reef sharks, puffer fish and small eagle rays.

But the 27 wild-caught dolphins which the park decided to buy and showcase as a key attraction have made more news in the last few years.

A Marine Life Park spokesman yesterday said the dolphins are still in Subic Bay in the Philippines, with no word on when they will arrive.

Meanwhile, marine animals from all over the world, but mainly from South-east Asia’s Coral Triangle, are arriving daily to start their quarantine, either at the park or at the marine aquaculture and research centre in Sungei Tengah. The quarantine ensures they are disease- and parasite-free come opening day. This three-week period also gives the creatures time to get acclimatised to the temperature, salinity and other water conditions.

The 2ha Sungei Tengah facility was completed last year and started operations in February. Marine Life Park did not reveal its cost.

There, rows of tanks large and small are divided into pens by netting, which keeps fish separated by species for easier care.

Some tanks have shelter and hiding spaces. A large pipe, for example, now works as a substitute hole for a moray eel.

The Marine Life Park oceanarium director and chief curator is Mr Craig Sowden, who was with the Sydney Aquarium for 22 years and helped design part of it.

He is backed by about 50 curatorial staff, plus veterinary staff and animal health staff who care for the marine creatures, put them through tests and observe them for infections, skin lesions or unusual behaviour.

The creatures are fed specially imported pellets or frozen squid, fish and prawns.

Most of the creatures were caught in the wild, said Mr Sowden. The park wants its suppliers to guarantee they use only non-destructive methods of capture, he said. “We’ll not purchase anything that’s caught with explosives or cyanide.”

After the park is up and running, the Sungei Tengah facility will be used for breeding research, both for the park and in collaboration with other institutions, he said.

Image from chip__e

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Comments
One Response to “The Straits Times: Marine park gets ready for opening”
  1. Jennifer Lee says:

    Response from ACRES – extracted from:
    http://www.straitstimes.com/premium/forum-letters/story/marine-park-opening-welcome

    “Its previous decision to buy 27 wild-caught dolphins already went against the recommendation of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which advised that such trade might be detrimental to the survival of this species in the Solomon Islands.

    RWS has stated that most of the creatures were caught in the wild. How many wild-caught creatures are of the species listed as critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable, near threatened or data deficient in the IUCN’s red list of threatened species? How were these animals caught in the wild?

    Although the report said RWS wants its suppliers to guarantee that they use only “non-destructive methods of capture”, the reality is that these animals were forcefully removed from the wild.”

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