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Disinterest sinks “swimming with dolphins’ plan

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Disinterest sinks “swimming with dolphins’ plan | The Thaiger
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PHUKET CITY: The Phuket Marine Biological Center (PMBC) and Danish marine biologist Judith Kongsted have announced that plans for a dolphin center at Cape Panwa have fallen through due to the lack of participants in a proposed fund-raising committee.

Ms Kongsted had invited PMBC Director Wannakiat Thapthimsang and other potential committee members to attend a meeting at the Pearl Hotel on Saturday to form a working committee and discuss raising funds for the project. Only about 15 people attended.

Ms Kongsted commented: “It turns out that this project is not going to work because we do not have a committee to work with. But I’m still enthusiastic about the idea.

“People are fascinated by dolphins but sometimes they bother the creatures in the wild. If we had a dolphin center, people could come and swim with them and I think that it would be an extremely beautiful experience.”

The concept was opposed by Dr Roy Jones, Wildlife Coordinator, Asia, of the World Society for Protection of Animals, a UN-affiliated organization.

“I disagree with dolphins being held in captivity,” he said. “Granted, research has been conducted on dolphins in captivity, but the actual scientific body of evidence that we have comes predominantly from dolphins in the wild. This is where they display their natural behavior.”

He added: “Swimming with dolphins is no more than a business, and captivity with constant intimacy with humans would prevent them from living a normal life.”

K. Wannakiat said “I have discussed this topic with Ms Kongsted and I told her that the dolphin center could possibly be associated with Phuket Aquarium because the aquarium would be allowed to make a profit from it.

“The PMBC is not allowed to affiliate with an independent institution such as the proposed dolphin center, but the aquarium is. The objective of the dolphin center should be [medical] research and if there is any swimming with dolphins it should be for patients, not tourists or visitors.”

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