Earth Film Festival: Singapore’s first crowd-based sustainability film festival

Earth Fest organisers are running the Earth Film Festival from Earth Day, April 22 2016, onwards and you can participate by hosting your own screening with friends and family at no cost. The Earth Film Festival is a crowd-based film festival, meaning hosts own a copy of the film afterwards, and it can be screened again with other friends and family members.

The Earth Film Festival involves collaborations with local sustainability organisations and will feature sustainability-related documentaries picked by the following organisations: Connected Threads Asia, People’s Movement to Stop Haze (PM Haze), Vegetarian Society (Singapore), Zero Waste (Singapore) and Animal Concerns Research & Education Society (ACRES).

The first Earth Film Festival screenings happen on and around Earth Day (April 22, 2016).  Hosts can register their preferred film and screening dates at http://earthfestsingapore.com.  

Take your pick from the following documentaries, and direct your enquiries to Michael Broadhead at hello@earthfestsingapore.com or 9731-4600.

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Are you going for the ACRES Gala Dinner?

It’s that time of the year again, when Animal Concerns Research & Education Society (ACRES) hold its gala dinner. See below for more information.

If you are unable to view the graphic below, please visit http://acres.org.sg/events/acresgaladinner2013.html#more to view the event flyer, along with details.

Gala_Poster

 

To purchase ticket(s) or table(s) via cheque or credit card payment, download the booking form here

You will receive 250% tax exemption for the cost of your ticket/s, and for any donations made.

For booking assistance, please contact Amy at amy@acres.org.sg

If Resorts World Sentosa cared for their dolphins…

The moral tussle of wild-caught dolphins in captivity between Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) and ACRES (Animal Concerns Research and Education Society) and animal welfare advocates the world over has been playing out in the media for more than a year and a half now, and it is one that looks to continue for some time.

The latest communication comes from the public relations department of RWS in response to a public letter in TODAY from Executive Director at ACRES Louis Ng, outwardly stating that his expressed views are “blinkered” and that he’s making himself out to be a greater authority on the topic than international scientists. The letter ends off saying that ACRES ought to “contribute constructively to marine conservation while appreciating that it requires many strategies, experts and resources to turn the tide for the future of marine life.”

In an even earlier letter from Louis published in TODAY, representing ACRES, he had offered to collaborate with them on educational programmes on condition that RWS housed species suited to survival in captivity, ones that are ethically and sustainably sourced. As a outsider reading the ongoing communications between the two, it isn’t hard to decide which one to empathise with more, especially as a nature lover.

If RWS wishes to show more concern for the surviving 24 dolphins, they should consider rehabilitating one or two dolphins and keep an eye on its progress, instead of insisting it cannot be done. Well known dolphin activist, Ric O’Barry has said on the Earth Island Institute’s Save Japan Dolphins website that not all dolphins can be rehabilitated, and every dolphin responds differently to rehabilitation. He too, has publicly shown his support of ACRES’ campaign, World’s Saddest Dolphins.   So far three dolphins have died for RWS’ project to promote dolphin conservation, why did they need 27 dolphins to do that for?

For now, many locals and tourists may still choose to visit RWS’ Marine Life Park, but with growing awareness on the need for animal humanity and with people increasingly finding their connection to nature, children and adults will more so begin to shun establishments like this, which appear to make animals suit their business plan, and it doesn’t seem quite right at all.

This opinion piece was contributed by Olivia Choong, Co-Founder and Campaigner at Green Drinks Singapore.

Image taken from  juxtaposer1

The Straits Times: No outsiders allowed for boar culling: NParks

The Straits Times reported that the though Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres) have requested to be able to witness the euthanising of wild boars in Lower Peirce, the National Parks Board turned it down for safety reasons, assuring that it will be done in a humane way.

No outsiders allowed for boar culling: NParks

THE National Parks Board (NParks) has turned down requests by animal welfare groups to observe the culling of wild boars in the Lower Peirce area.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres) told The Straits Times they wanted to be present to ensure the method used is humane.

But NParks said on Monday in response to queries that no outsiders would be allowed to observe the culling for safety reasons.

“The operation will be carried out by a small number of handlers. For safety reasons, and in order not to distract the handlers or animals, we’ll not be allowing anyone else into the area,” said NParks conservation director Wong Tuan Wah.

He said the agency is still working with Wildlife Reserves Singapore on a method to sedate and euthanise the boars. “The animals will be put down in as humane a manner as possible,” he said.

Asked how many boars would be killed and when the culling would take place, an NParks spokesman said there were “no new updates”.

The animal has been in the spotlight since The Straits Times reported in June that NParks was considering ways to cull the population at Lower Peirce. The decision triggered numerous letters to The Straits Times Forum Page, both for and against the culling.

NParks has defended the need to do so, citing the danger posed to people and the damage the boars have caused to the Lower Peirce forest.

In June, a wild boar believed to be from the Lower Peirce area wandered into the nearby Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park and charged at a security guard and a five-year-old boy.

NParks estimates that there are 80 to 100 wild boars in the Lower Peirce area, based on its observations of two herds.

Scientific studies on boar population densities in other countries such as Malaysia indicate this number is too high for the 1.5 sq km Lower Peirce area, but some have called for NParks to conduct local studies before culling the animal.

SPCA executive director Corinne Fong said NParks should not exclude outsiders from observing the culling.

“It’s a shame (NParks) is not opening this up to outsiders. That would give the public more assurance that everything will be done properly and humanely,” she said.

Said Acres executive director Louis Ng: “We still don’t support the culling but third parties could help audit the operations and make sure future rounds of culling are done better.”

But Dr Diong Cheong Hoong, who has researched wild pigs in Borneo, Malaysia and Singapore, said sedation and euthanisation is a well-established culling method.

“Having more people will only agitate the boar in the trap more,” he added.

Instead, NParks could share with the groups its culling procedure and the backgrounds of those carrying it out, he said.

NParks has said it may be necessary to cull the boars on a regular basis if the population continues to grow. It has also said it will consider other options such as removing their food source, which includes oil-palm plants, in the Lower Peirce area, though this must be weighed carefully as other animals may rely on the food.

Image from Bering17

 

 

 

The Straits Times: Dolphin activist fails to meet RWS management

World-acclaimed activist Ric O’Barry is in town and held a dialogue at Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel this evening.

The heads of Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) were reportedly unable to meet him. RWS spokesperson Krist Boo communicated that “they had ‘no reason to meet Mr O’Barry, whose agenda is to seek the release of the dolphins'”.

The Straits Times story below.

Dolphin activist fails to meet RWS management

A few months ago, a well-known American dolphin activist wrote to Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) appealing to the integrated resort to free the 25 dolphins it plans to showcase at its upcoming Marine Life Park.

On Monday, Mr Ric O’Barry visited RWS, hoping to make the appeal in person to its chief executive Tan Hee Teck.

When he arrived, he was told that neither Mr Tan nor any of the senior management staff was available to meet him.

Recently, more animal lovers both here and abroad have come out to oppose RWS’ moves. Two US-based online activist groups, Avaaz and Change.org, have gathered nearly 800,000 signatures from members worldwide, including Singaporeans.

A disappointed Mr O’Barry, 72, who shot to fame with his movie, The Cove, on the killing of dolphins in Taiji, Japan, repeated his call to RWS to show that it is a ‘true steward of the environment’ and ‘a responsible company sensitive to the harm captivity inflicts on dolphins’.

He is giving a public talk tonight organised by Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres), which has also lobbied RWS to free the dolphins caught in waters off the Solomon Islands, near Papua New Guinea.

The marine mammal specialist had offered his help to rehabilitate and release the dolphins back to their native habitat.

On Monday, Mr O’Barry said the offer still stands, adding: ‘The dolphins can adapt to their home range where they were born much easier than the concrete, steel and glass tanks at the Marine Life Park. If Resorts World frees the dolphins, it will be a massive windfall of good publicity for them.’

The activist, who investigated dolphin hunts in the Solomon Islands for a television documentary last year, said he hopes, through his public talk, to inform Singaporeans on how dolphins are caught in the wild and why it is cruel to keep them in captivity.

‘The dolphins are corralled into a cove by the villagers. The healthy ones are caught to be sold to aquariums but the others are speared, clubbed and stabbed to death.’

RWS has never revealed how much it paid for the 27 bottlenose dolphins bought from Canadian dolphin trader Chris Porter in 2008 and 2009. Two of them died from a water-borne bacterial infection in Langkawi, Malaysia, in October last year.

The remaining 25 are being housed at Ocean Adventure in Subic Bay in the Philippines.

The original plan to exhibit them along with whale sharks drew flak from environmental groups and animal lovers here. In May 2009, RWS scrapped that plan, saying it might not be able to care for whale sharks, which can grow to more than 12m and weigh 15 tonnes.

When asked why RWS management declined to meet the activist, its spokesman Krist Boo said they had ‘no reason to meet Mr O’Barry, whose agenda is to seek the release of the dolphins’.

She added that the dolphins have been in the resort’s care for three years and, since the track record of releasing dolphins back into the wild is patchy, RWS will be ‘gravely irresponsible’ to consider such an act.

She said the dolphins will not be used for spa therapy or shows at the Marine Life Park, which will open next year.

Instead, RWS will create a ‘marine-mammal encounter programme’ that will allow the dolphins and guests to interact in a safe and controlled environment.

‘Guests will observe, feel and learn about the dolphins up close and personal, while learning about the biological behaviour and protection of these charismatic and intelligent animals.’

She added that RWS is preparing to set up a breeding programme as well as a rescue and rehabilitation one for the dolphins.

Dolphin rescue and rehabilitation expert Robin Friday from Miami in the United States, who spent one month helping to care for Winter, the dolphin star in the recently released movie, Dolphin Tale, is acting as consultant for RWS’ rescue and rehabilitation programme.

But Mr O’Barry said catching and confining these animals, and training them to become something they are not, cannot possibly contribute towards constructive education on marine life and environmental issues.

Through the media, he had invited Mr Friday to attend his dialogue at Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel to debate the issue.

But Mr Friday has turned down the invitation, saying he has no interest in debating him.

BACKGROUND STORY

Controversy continues

  • Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) bought 27 bottlenose dolphins from a Canadian trader in 2008 and 2009.
  • Nine were kept at a holding unit in Langkawi, Malaysia, while the rest were housed at Ocean Adventure in Subic Bay in the Philippines.
  • Two dolphins died from a bacterial infection in Langkawi last October. A few months later, the remaining seven were transferred to the Philippines.
  • RWS’ original plan was to exhibit the dolphins along with whale sharks in its 8ha Marine Life Park, which will be ready next year. But the plan drew criticism from environmental groups and animal lovers.
  • In May 2009, RWS scrapped the plan to exhibit whale sharks but said it would go ahead with its plan to use the dolphins.
Image of Louis Ng and Ric O’Barry taken from ACRES

Ric O’Barry in Singapore next Tuesday!

ACRES has organised a dialogue session featuring Ric O’Barry of The Cove. For event and rsvp details, see below.

Ric O’Barry, marine mammal specialist and star of the Academy Award winning documentary film “The Cove”, will be in Singapore for a dialogue session next Tuesday, 4th October, from 7.00pm until 9.30pm, at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel.

Hosted by ACRES, this is your opportunity to meet Ric and hear him speak about his efforts to end the exploitation of dolphins over the past four decades. Please help spread the word by sharing this invite with all your friends!

Excerpt from Ric’s book “Behind the dolphin smile”:

People who have faced death often speak of their lives flashing before their eye. Something much different happened to dolphin trainer Ric O’Barry when one of the dolphins that played Flipper on television died of stress in his arms. He realised that most of his career as an animal trainer had been a mistake and that dolphins have as much right to freedom as humans. He vowed not to rest until he freed every last dolphin that could be returned to the wild successfully.

Ric was the trainer for the five dolphins who collectively played Flipper on the popular American TV show in the 1960s. He had everything – money, flashy cars, pretty woman – but it wasn’t enough to keep his conscience at bay. He began to understand that dolphins were easy to train because of their great intelligence, not his great talent, and keeping them in captivity was cruel and morally wrong.

Date: 4th October 2011.
Time: 7.00pm – 9.30pm (Registration starts at 7pm, please be seated by 7.30pm).
Venue: Grand Ballroom. Level 4. Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel. 392 Havelock Road, Singapore 169663. (http://www.millenniumhotels.com.sg/grandcopthornewaterfront/attractions/index.html)

Please RSVP by sending an email with your name and email address to denise@acres.org.sg

Places are limited and on a first-come-first-served basis. Registration is free but please RSVP for the event.

Concert for the world’s saddest dolphins

ACRES has organised a concert to raise awareness of their cause to free the dolphins that Resorts World Sentosa are holding in captivity, and to show their solidarity with the dolphins. Do come and show your support for this worthwhile cause! More details below.

Concert for the world’s saddest dolphins

Resorts World Sentosa continues to turn a deaf ear to the pleas of Singaporeans and international organisations to do the right thing and release the 25 wild dolphins.

So we think it’s time all the animal lovers—indeed, everyone who believes in fair play—came together and spoke as one.

We are hosting a concert in the park to raise awareness, to make ourselves heard and most importantly, to show our solidarity with the dolphins.

Several prominent bands and musicians, including Jack and Rai, Sixx, D’Fusion, Zal Empty, Alicia Pan and Michaela Therease are donating their precious time and talent for the dolphins’ benefit.

We need you there too.

We will gather together to form the shape of a giant leaping dolphin for the cameras. And we will sing, ‘Please let the dolphins go’, together, in one loud voice.

So, dear animal lover, please join us there on Sunday, 28th August at 4.30 pm.

And bring as many of your family and friends as you can. There will be music, food, drinks and fun. You can even make a picnic of it.

The more of us there are, the bigger that dolphin on the ground, the stronger our voice, and the louder the signal we can send.

We must not let RWS, or any corporation in the future, get the idea that they can simply get away with abduction and exploitation of wild animals for profit.

Date: Sunday, 28 August 2011
Time: 4:30pm
Venue: Hong Lim Park, Exit A of Clarke Quay MRT

RSVP on Facebook.

Image taken from Save the World’s Saddest Dolphins