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Bangkok officials check controversial Phuket dolphinarium [video]

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Bangkok officials check controversial Phuket dolphinarium [video] | Thaiger

PHUKET: Department of Fisheries officials from Bangkok examined the hotly contested Nemo Dolphinarium today.

“Five officers came to inspect the facility and question the owners,” Suchart Youngsup, acting chief of the Phuket Fisheries Office told the Phuket Gazette. “Everything is being taken care of by Bangkok officials. We are just supporting them as necessary.”

With renowned dolphin-rights activist Ric O’Barry leading the charge, the debate about Phuket’s dolphinarium has gone international.

“If Phuket actually imports dolphins from Taiji, it’s going to be a blemish on tourism in Phuket on an international

Phuket risks great harm to its reputation as an international tourist destination if a dolphin park is allowed to open here, explained dolphin-rights activist Ric O’Barry in an exclusive interview with the Gazette. Video: PGTV

scale, because Phuket will be supporting this dolphin slaughter,” Mr O’Barry told the Gazette in an exclusive interview earlier this year (story here).

A direct connection between five wild caught dolphins bound for the dolphinarium and the annual slaughter of thousands of dolphins at the Taiji cove in Japan was later confirmed by Asia Director of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Gary Stokes (story here).

“The dolphinarium has become a sensitive issue. We are aware that such facilities are banned in some other countries,” Mr Suchart said.

Director of the Fishery Management Bureau Marnop Chaengkij earlier this year confirmed to the Gazette that if the facility did meet the department’s standards, there would still be a “long way to go” before it would be able to open its doors.

“Even if they are allowed to operate the dolphinarium, we must ensure that all of their paperwork is legal first,” Mr Marnop said.

“We will check where the animals are being exported from, and we won’t just believe whatever is written in the application. We will do our homework.”

However, Mr Marnop noted that Thailand does not have any embargo on dolphins from Ukraine or Japan, as long as the correct documentation is provided.

— Chutharat Plerin

 

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