200 Dolphins Captured and Sold

Discussion in 'Environmental' started by Matt Rogers, Jul 22, 2003.

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  1. Matt Rogers

    Matt Rogers Kingfish Staff Member

    Dec 31, 2000
    Berkeley, CA

    CANCUN, Mexico (Reuters) -- Environmentalist groups fear for the physical condition of up to 25 dolphins flying from the anarchy-torn Solomon Islands to an aquatic park in Mexico this week.

    The animals were among 200 wild dolphins captured in the Solomon Islands and held in tiny pens awaiting sale in what activists have branded "an environmental crime."

    "This is the biggest single capture of dolphins for public display," said Ben White of the Washington-based Animal Welfare Institute.

    "The ones that are coming here are going to be in horrible shape," he said in the Caribbean resort of Cancun.

    Activists fear the dolphins could suffer trauma from being uprooted from their environment in the South Pacific ocean and could also infect local dolphins living off the tropical Yucatan peninsula with new diseases.

    As around 2,000 Australian-led troops and police headed on Monday for the Solomon Islands to restore order, the dolphins were loaded onto a chartered Brazil Air Cargo DC-10 jet with a hold full of "coffin-like" containers, according to Australian media reports.

    Impoverished local fishermen in the Solomons, a chain of 1,000 islands 1,800 km (1,200 miles) northeast of Australia, sold the dolphins for $260 a head, the Australian Associated Press news agency said.

    Australia has urged Mexico to block the deal. But Georgita Ruiz of the Mexican government's environmental protection agency said there was no reason to do so.

    "We are the first to be concerned that these things are done according to the law. We found no element to deny the import permit," Ruiz told Reuters.

    She said the decision to allow the dolphins to be brought into Mexico was taken after careful consultation with scientists. She said the dolphins would be given full medical checks to ensure they could not pass on any disease.

    Thirty-three dolphins were originally ordered but only 20-25 were on the flight, Ruiz said.

    Mexican environmental groups have filed a suit arguing it is illegal to bring exotic species into a protected natural area.

    "These are cold water dolphins and here it's 28 degrees Centigrade. It's an issue of water temperature and quality, the species living here, the food. It's not logical to bring them," said Aracelie Dominguez, founder of an environmentalist network in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo.

    No one was available to comment at Parque Nizuc, the aquatic park in Cancun where the dolphins are headed. Visitors to the park can swim with dolphins at a cost of 900 pesos (US $86) per person on top of a 290 peso admission fee, or simply kiss and pet the dolphins for 489 pesos.

    The trade in live dolphins is governed by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, which prohibits it if it is detrimental to them and not subject to proper regulation.
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  3. Craig Manoukian

    Craig Manoukian Giant Squid

    Dec 15, 2002
    Marina del Rey, California
    Yipes!  Scarry what we do to mess up the ecosystem.  Flowering White Top and Starlings have driven native species out of their North American home ranges.
  4. karlas

    karlas Fire Goby

    Feb 20, 2002
    berwick, PA,Pennsylvania
    i cant see those dolphins living to long especially if they are a colder water speicies. also people cant figure out why ecosystems get screwed up DUH

    if someting is found somewhere just leave it there dont try to relocate it. if its not there its not there for a reason