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Dubai Dolphinarium denies wild dolphin report

posted on 16/10/2007: 928 views

Reports that 30 dolphins are to be brought to Dubai tomorrow continue to cause confusion, with bosses of the emirate's Dolphinarium project saying they know nothing about the consignment, said a Dubai- based daily today. The mammals were said to have been bought from the Solomon Islands after the tiny Pacific nation reversed an earlier decision to ban the trade.

Robert Satu, boss of the company that claims to be supplying the wild mammals, said they would be flown to Dubai on two DC-10s. The reports sparked outrage among conservationists opposed to the capture of wild dolphins.

But Emirates Today quoted Ahmed Abdul Kareem, Head of Dubai Municipality's Public Parks Department, as saying: "The reports in the international media about 30 dolphins coming to Dubai are not related to the Dolphinarium. It is a fact that we are not buying any dolphins from the Solomon Islands. Where would we keep 30 dolphins?" Informed sources suggested the consignment was intended for another dolphinarium project in the region.

However three of the mammals are being acquired for the Dubai centre, a part of the Dh205 million Dubai Marine World project. But they will be captive-bred animals rather than wild ones.

The dolphins and four sea lions will be brought from a country belonging to the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), an alliance of 11 former Soviet republics. They are expected to arrive in the next two months after the necessary documents are obtained.

Timur Bekemullin, Managing Director of Sergex Royal, the municipality's partner in Dubai Marine World, said: "We will buy three dolphins from another dolphinarium in a CIS country. Specialists will take care of them. Our dolphins will not be captured from the sea, they will be third-generation captive animals." The Dolphinarium in Creek Park has been delayed for two years and is still under construction.

Bekemullin said: "We hope the project will be ready in two months. Our focus is on education and dolphin therapy for children. In many dolphinariums, there is a long waiting list for this therapy and we hope the facility will be available to UAE residents." The proposed Dubai Marine World will include a fish farm, a crocodile and alligator attraction area, a research and therapy centre and an aquarium. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)


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