Tuesday, 10 July 2007 7:38 AM

Dubai Should Prohibit Importation of Dolphins from Solomons

The Save Japan Dolphins Coalition and Earth Island Institute have called upon the leaders of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to DENY GRANTING OF IMPORT PERMITS ALLOWING dolphins from the Solomon Islands TO ENTER THE UAE.

According to confidential government sources, twenty wild live dolphins captured in the Solomon Islands are planned for export to Dubai, reportedly to be used for a "swim-with-dolphins" tourist park in the UAE.

The capture of these dolphins in the Solomon Islands was done in the cruelest manner as part of a local Solomons "drive fishery," wherein dolphin schools are chased into shallow water and killed for food. Twenty of the "best specimens" for captivity were culled from the hunt to be sent to Dubai for captive display; the rest were killed.

The scientific arm of the international trade body that regulates trade in dolphins has denounced plans by the government of the Solomon Islands to allow export of these live dolphins to other countries. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), in a letter to the Solomons government, insists that any export of wild dolphins would violate CITES because studies on the status of local dolphin populations have never been done.

The IUCN is the world's premier scientific expert on wildlife, including marine mammals. CITES takes the recommendations of the IUCN as their basic scientific data on the status of endangered wildlife. The Solomon Islands joined CITES as a new member nation. The United Arab Emirates have been members of CITES since 1990.

The Save Japan Dolphins Coalition and Earth Island Institute are asking that the 20 dolphins be released back into the wild. The government of the United Arab Emirates should block the import of such dolphins and join the world in denouncing the cruel capture and EXPORTATION of these intelligent marine mammals.

The Save Japan Dolphins Coalition includes Earth Island Institute, Elsa Nature Conservancy of Japan, Animal Welfare Institute, and In Defense of Animals. For further information on dolphins in captivity and the coalition's efforts, go to: http://www.SaveJapanDolphins.org

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter/article are those of Mark J. Palmer, Associate Director, Earth Island Institute and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.

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