With the star-studded launch party of the new luxury ‘Atlantis, the Palm’ resort, in Dubai set for tomorrow, WDCS, the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, has exposed the cruelty and hypocrisy behind their captive dolphin display.
The luxury tourist resort, due to be launched with a huge and glitzy party on 20th November, claims that its captive dolphin facility will be the first rescue and rehabilitation centre for injured or stranded wild dolphins in Dubai. However, WDCS has revealed that the dolphins used to stock the pools to enable Atlantis’ customers to experience swimming with dolphins have been bought from a dealer who captured the animals from the wild.
Far from being rescued or rehabilitated, the dolphins, of which there are believed to be around 24, have been caught in waters surrounding the Solomon Islands and cruelly removed from the wild in order to live out the remainder of their lives in tanks in the luxury resort on the Palm, Dubai, entertaining paying guests.
WDCS Captivity Campaigner, Cathy Williamson, said: “On their website, the Atlantis resort claims to have a ‘have a strong commitment to dolphins and marine life conservation.’ However, removing dolphins from a wild population is far from good for conservation. Capture is incredibly damaging to both the animals that are removed and also those left behind. Dolphins live in social groups, and when you capture animals from this group you break important relationships, possibly removing animals that hold important roles, such as breeding females. It’s outrageous and hypocritical that Atlantis is claiming to be committed to conservation when they have supported the capture and trade in wild-caught dolphins by buying these animals.”
The welfare of the dolphins kept in the ‘Dolphin Bay’ attraction at the resort is also a concern for WDCS. These wide-ranging and intelligent mammals are not suited to captivity, and many suffer from the impacts of confinement. Life expectancy is shorter for animals in captivity and interaction with humans, such as the swimming-with-dolphin experiences offered at Dolphin Bay, put the animals at risk of injury and infections.
The launch party, which will feature Kylie Minogue performing to specially selected guests, and food prepared by top celebrity chefs, will also include a giant firework display that Atlantis claim will light up 43km of shoreline and illuminate the entire island.
Cathy Williamson added: “The Atlantis resort is clearly not thinking about the best interests of the dolphins. The animals are there solely to entertain paying guests and help to make profits for the business. An example of the lack of concern shown for these animals is the firework party that is planned to launch the resort on the 20th November. We know that dolphins are incredibly sensitive to noise, and the noise that results from these fireworks is bound to distress the animals.”
Why Atlantis? - ask Kylie
The UK Sun newspaper are hosting a webchat with Kylie Minogue on Friday, 21 November 2008.
Please take this opportunity to add your comments - put your questions to Kylie asking why she agreed to headline the opening celebrations at Atlantis given the controversy over the wild caught dolphins imported from the Solomon Islands and the fact that, despite national and international pleas, Atlantis still will not release the young whale shark which they took from the Gulf, despite continued demands for its' release.
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