The operators of Underwater World, a captive dolphin facility on Sentosa, a small island off the city of Singapore, have announced that it is to close at the end of June after 25 years in operation.
Owners say that the closure is as a result of the lease coming to an end, and that the dolphins will still remain in captivity after being transported to the Chimelong dolphinarium in China.
The facility has recently been criticized for “sub-standard” conditions and the dolphins face a miserable life in a small tank if they survive the stressful transportation to China.
Wild whales and dolphins can swim up to 100 miles a day, hunting and playing. In captivity they have very little space and cannot behave naturally. A concrete tank can never replace their ocean home.
WDC is working with Merlin Entertainments to establish sanctuaries for captive bottlenose dolphins and beluga whales. It’s a long and complicated process to find the right site. Sanctuaries need to offer space and protection in clean waters of the right temperature while, ideally, being accessible to visitors so they can support the sanctuary financially, learn about the benefits of sanctuaries and spread the word. It also takes time to secure the necessary financial, political and community support.