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Animal welfare groups to LGUs: Save the dolphins

By: Delta Dyrecka C. Letigio February 07,2019 - 07:30 PM

Animal welfare non-government organizations conducted a dialogue on the dangers of dolphin captivity for entertainment in Cebu City on Thursday, February 7. | Photo by Delta Dyrecka Letigio

CEBU CITY, Philippines–Animal welfare groups are calling for the ban on marine mammal captivity in Cebu following the plans of an oceanarium being currently built in Cebu City to host dolphin shows.

Members of the the groups, including the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), were  in Cebu City on Thursday, February 7, to protest the plans of the oceanarium to import dolphins and put them in captivity similar to other oceanariums in the world.

Anna Cabrera, the Executive Director of PAWS, said they have conducted a dialogue with the oceanarium’s management in Manila to discourage the captivity of these wild animals.

Cabrera said the company assured the animal-welfare groups that their park will follow all the legal process for the safety of the animals within their park.

However, Cabrera said the company may still push through with the dolphin show despite their talks with the oceanarium’s administration, as government agencies such as the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and the Cebu City local government unit (LGU) did not object to the construction of the park at the SRP.

“Kaya po kami nanawagan sa mga LGUs natin kasi if papayagan natin ang dolphin show or any kind of wild marine mammal captivity, sinisira natin ang ecosystem sa dagat natin,” said Cabrera.

She said that dolphins naturally swim at least a hundred kilometers daily on the wild and putting them in captivity would be inhumane for them.

Cabrera also revealed that dolphins who are trained in dolphin shows are starved so they are forced to perform tricks in order to get fed.

This stressful condition for the dolphins is against the Animal Welfare Act which prohibits cruelty to animals, she said.

Cabrera said that not only will the oceanarium violate the Animal Welfare Act, the transportation of these dolphins would also potentially violate the Fisheries Administrative Orders (FAO) No. 185 Series of 1992 or the ban on catching, selling, purchasing, possessing, transporting, and exporting of dolphins.

The same order was amended in 1997 to include whales and porpoises.

A.G. Saño of  said they do not wish to close down the oceanarium but to only call for the responsible care of these wild marine mammals that play huge roles in the balance of the ecosystem of the Philippine seas.

However, if the park pushes through with the dolphin show, the animal welfare groups will file charges against them for the violation of FAO No. 185, Saño said.

He hoped that Cebu will rise against this kind of animal cruelty, adding that the education about wild animals cannot be done when these animals are in captivity.

As for Cabrera, she hoped that the movement against dolphin captivity, which has started to get the support of the youth sector especially the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK), will influence the LGU to implement stricter rules on the importation, transport, and captivity of wild marine mammals.

Cebu Daily News Digital tried to reach the management of the oceanarium but the management did not respond. /elb

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