Indian activists want tigers, not dolphinariums

Wildlife activists in India have attacked the state government’s project to set up dolphin parks in Sindhudurg, and say money should be utilised to protect the national animal.

Slamming the state government’s multi-crore plan to set up dolphin parks along
the Arabian Sea coastline in Sindhudurg, wildlife activists have opined that
this will not only ruin the ecology of the place but also be stressful for the
dolphins that will be brought there.

Activists say that instead of spending the money on setting
up a dolphinarium, the amount should be utilised on the conservation of tigers
in the state, which is the need of the hour. Reportedly, the tiger population
that is stable at 169 in Maharashtra, is being threatened by all sorts of
sporadic developments. At present, there are 21 tigers in the Sindhudurg

Last week the state government gave a nod to the Rs 510 crore plan of building
a dolphin and water theme park with restaurants to enhance tourism. The park
would be built on a public-private partnership model and construction would be
on the lines of a dolphin park in Florida.

The Humane Society International (HSI) a wildlife group has strongly urged
Chhagan Bhujbal, Minister for Tourism and Public Works to reconsider his
support to build the parks, as capturing dolphins from the wild could not only
be harmful to them, but also to marine ecosystems, especially in the region
where no special facilities for them exist.

HSI experts have said that since the public display of whales and dolphins is
declining in popularity it would be regressive for India to build a
dolphinarium. Its construction would require substantial environmental
disruption and if wild dolphins fail to adapt to the conditions, an entirely
separate host of environmental facilities will have to be introduced.

Campaign manager of HSI Jay Simha said, “It has not been proved anywhere
in the world that dolphinariums would enhance knowledge of wildlife. This park
at Sindhudurg instead will create huge amount of stress to the animals and will
have an impact on the ecology of that place. Transportation on the other hand
could threaten their population as it might result in death or injury of the
animal. A breeding member cannot be captured and removed from a group without
thorough assessment.”

Apart from this, Care2 Action Alert, a petition site too has received about
more than 1,500 signatures from people opposing the plan by the state
government. Wildlife expert Anish Andheria said that even though many species
of dolphins are found in Indian waters, a change of place could heighten their
mortality rate.

“We have to see in what conditions they will be kept. But instead of
setting up a park, money should be utilised in protecting the tigers in Maharashtra,
which is more important,” he added.

Source: Mid-Day

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