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Blamed for whale death, marine park cries foul

/ 06:00 AM September 19, 2014
MEMBERS of animal rights groups rally outside the Department of Agriculture blaming a marine park in Subic town for the death of a false killer whale. LYN RILLON

MEMBERS of animal rights groups rally outside the Department of Agriculture blaming a marine park in Subic town for the death of a false killer whale. LYN RILLON

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—An official of a marine park here has assailed animal welfare groups for using the “natural death” of one of its original sea animals for their personal gain.

“Tonka,” a false killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens), died last week from an “inoperable twisted intestine, an all too common condition of whales and dolphins both in the wild and in human care,” according to an announcement posted on Ocean Adventure’s Facebook page.

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In a statement, Timothy Desmond, chair and chief executive officer of Ocean Adventure, said Earth Island Institute (EII) and Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) had been using the death of Tonka “to get attention for themselves so they can make a profit.”

On its Facebook account, EII said it had petitioned Dr. Rubina Cresencio, national director of the Bureau of Animal Industry, on Wednesday to revoke all permits issued to Ocean Adventure, citing animal cruelty that had claimed the lives of sea animals like Tonka.

False killer whales are the third largest members of the oceanic dolphin family.

“Tonka’s death at Ocean Adventure Subic Bay has proven time and again that dolphins do not live long in captivity. The latest death has affirmed that dolphin parks are really not for education nor conservation. The bottom line is always profit at the expense of animals,” an EII statement said.

But Desmond said: “Tonka grew up with my kids. And my daughter knows more about Tonka, and cares more about Tonka, than all of these groups put together. And she is 6 years old.”

“The truth is, these groups know next to nothing about these animals. All they know, and what they are good at, is making noise to damage us economically,” he said.

He said animal rights groups “thrive on manufacturing controversies for their own ends.”

“The only difference between us is that we actually deeply care about these animals, and we have allocated tremendous resources and expertise for the benefit, well-being and welfare of our animals, unlike these groups,” he said.

He said the staff and officials of Ocean Adventure “are mourning the loss of a family member.”

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The marine park described Tonka as the “star of our dolphin show” and “the greatest ambassador for whales and dolphins in the wild.” Allan Macatuno, Inquirer Central Luzon

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TAGS: marine park, News, Ocean Adventure, Philippine Animal Welfare Society, Regions, Subic Freeport
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