28 dolphins captured off the Solomon Islands are flown to new swim-with facility in Dubai
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 2007:
DUBAI, U.A.E.– Twenty-eight dolphins captured in July 2007
off the Solomon Islands “are definitely coming to Dubai and will all
go to one place, the Atlantis Palm Dubai,” a Dubai representative
of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species told
Emmanuelle Landais of Gulf News two days before the flight.
But even though the transaction was extensively covered for
The Independent news services and Associated Press by Solomon Islands
correspondent George Herming, a Kerzner International spokesperson
insisted to Landais that, “We cannot disclose information about
where we acquire our dolphins or details of the transport at this
time as a matter of security.”
Former Vancouver Aquarium trainer Christopher Porter and
Solomon Islands Marine Mammal Education Centre director Robert Satu
reportedly negotiated the deal for about $30,000 per dolphin–but
Satu also “would not reveal the identity of the importer or the price
paid,” Herming wrote, and guards on October 11 chased away a camera
crew who tried to videotape the dolphins’ departure.
“The Solomon Islands banned the export of live dolphins after
the outcry over a consignment of 28 bottlenose dolphins sent to an
aquatic park in Mexico in 2003,” Herming recalled. “At least nine
died, according to the San Francisco-based Earth Island Institute.
But Satu claimed the ban was illegal and won a court ruling allowing
the exports. In August 2007, fisheries minister Nollen Leni said
this would encourage the capture and sale of up to 100 bottlenose
dolphins a year.”
Earth Island Institute Pacific director Lawrence Makili
unsuccessfully sued to try to stop the sales.
One day before the dolphins were flown to Dubai, Herming
reported, “The carcasses of three bottlenose dolphins including a
calf were found dumped” near the exporters’ holding pen. Satu denied
any knowledge of the incident.