Three of the ten dolphins held in captivity by Tanhuka villagers in Kolombangara, Western Province, Solomon Islands have died over the past three weeks.
The dolphins were being kept in a pen secured by fishing nets in a bay just outside the village.
The Solomon Star visited the village yesterday and was present when one of the dolphins came ashore and then died, after being inspected by a team of fisheries and police officers sent by Premier George Solingi Lilo, accompanied by Earth Island Institute (EII) Regional Director, Lawrence Makili.
According to some of the villagers, they claimed this was the third dolphin to have died within a span of three weeks.
“Three dolphins have so far died over the past three weeks, one was buried here whilst the other was believed to have been consumed by some villagers.
“Only seven dolphins remain in the pen,” a group of villagers who wanted their names withheld for safety reasons revealed.
These reports were somehow disputed by other villagers who maintained that only two dolphins have died over the past week.
One of which was believed to have drowned trying to get into the pen and the other its calf (baby dolphin).
Mr Makili who was part of a team of fisheries, police officers and the media who briefly inspected one of the dolphins yesterday, before it unfortunately died in his hands said that such circumstances was expected prior to visiting the village.
“We had anticipated such to happen.
“The dolphin that died in my hands today (yesterday) was very ill and had suffered from bruises and scars which I believe to have been infected,” Mr Makili said.
Makili added that if one of the pod of dolphins has suffered from such conditions, then other dolphins must also be going through the same.
He also highlighted whilst holding negotiations with the villagers yesterday evening that his only worry now was that the number of dolphins in the pen had decreased since his last visit last week.
Meanwhile Tanhuka villagers yesterday demanded a total of $20,000 in compensation to cater for expenses incurred for the three weeks they have been keeping the mammals before they would be released.
Source: Solomon Star by Jeremy Inifiri