"Government wants dolphinarium again
27 Apr, 2010, 09:53 (GMT -04:00)
Dolphins in Aruban waters. The scientific research into these sea mammals will begin this year.
ORANJESTAD — The government has plans to start a dolphinarium again on Aruba. Premier Mike Eman (AVP) and the Minister of Infrastructure, Environment and Integration, Benny Sevinger (AVP) have discussed this with three environmental organizations who oppose such.
This conversation was held a few weeks ago. Angiolina Henriquez of Aruba Marine Mammal Foundation (AMFF), Edith van de Wal of Tortugaruba, and Ramsy Acosta of Fundacion Arubano pa Naturalez y Parke (Fanape) had been present during this conversation. According to Van de Wal, it appeared during that conversation that the government is considering a dolphinarium – just like three years ago.
The nature-representatives had substantiated why the dolphinarium was not a good idea. “We had suggested that a rehabilitation center would be better – if one insisted setting-up something similar. That way, with the lapse of time, ill dolphins would be given the chance to return to the wild”, says Van de Wal. According to Henriquez, during the conversation Eman had promised he would only grant a permit for such a rehabilitation centre. Nevertheless, she is still not convinced the government will abandon their plans for a dolphinarium. A reaction from the government was not available this morning.
There had also been plans for a dolphinarium three years ago. In October 2007, Amigoe had published an article along with several contributed letters on dolphin breeding at De Palm Island. One of those contributed letters had been from Richard O’Barry, the trainer of the dolphins used for the TV-series Flipper. He is a fierce opponent of dolphinariums and at the time had urgently appealed to ‘decision makers’ on Aruba not to continue with the plans for a dolphinarium. At that time, he had also been leading a film crew in Japan who were secretly shooting a film of dolphins being killed. This documentary, The Cove, had won an Oscar last year.
The director of De Palm Tours, Richardo Malmberg, stated he is not aware of the current plans for a dolphinarium, “Nor has the government invited us to discuss such”. Malmberg states that his company currently does not have any plans regarding dolphins either.
AMFF find the plans for a dolphinarium shocking. By making these plans public, Henriquez hopes people on Aruba will realize the government does not bear a warm heart towards the nature on Aruba. Simultaneously, AMFF wants to prove scientifically why dolphins belong in the wild and not in a dolphinarium.
A lecture had been conducted in Hadicurari last Saturday evening, which researcher Jolanda Luksenburg had also attended. She is a biologist and will be doing a research for AMFF on sea mammals as well as dolphins. This is the first time that such a scientific research is being carried out. Luksenburg had arrived on Aruba nearly two months ago. She thinks Aruba is a unique location. “The wild dolphins swim so close to the coast – even close to the water sportspeople. That offers many opportunities to study them up close. I will literally head for the sea in a boat, hoping to see dolphins often so that I can collect much data.” With her research, Luksenburg can count on cooperation with the Aruba University (UA).
After the presentations from Henriquez and Luksenburg, the audience had seen the documentary The Cove, where a group of animal activists is followed, showing how dolphins are caught in Japan for dolphinariums. However, the largest part, approx. 20,000 dolphins per year, is not fit for dolphinariums, and is killed for consumption. The film crew had used hidden cameras and microphones because Japan did not want the images published. The documentary had won an Oscar in 2009."