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Dolphins, seals arrive at Phuket's B100mn Nemo marine park

PHUKET: Five dolphins and two seals have legally landed in Phuket and are undergoing acclimatisation at the B100 million Nemo Dolphinarium in Chalong ahead of the tourist attraction opening soon.

tourism, environment, marine, animals, Russian,

Tanyaluk Sakoot

Monday 19 October 2015, 11:37AM

The five dolphins, pictured here at Phuket's yet-to-open Nemo dolphinarium in Chalong, are currently undergoing acclimatisation after their flight from the Ukraine. Photo: NEMO - Dolphins Bay Phuket
The five dolphins, pictured here at Phuket's yet-to-open Nemo dolphinarium in Chalong, are currently undergoing acclimatisation after their flight from the Ukraine. Photo: NEMO - Dolphins Bay Phuket

The seven sea mammals arrived by flight from the Ukraine last week, confirmed Supreecha Suthamanondh, General Manager of Phuket Aqua Project Co Ltd.

“The animals are in a quarantine period with their handlers so they can adjust to their new environment,” he said.

“Right now our top priority is for our specialists to take good care of them and make sure they feel comfortable in their new surroundings as soon as possible.”

Mr Supreecha confirmed that the Nemo facility had been issued permits to import the animals and to operate as a public zoo.

“This aquarium is not only to serve as a tourist attraction for Thais and foreigners, but also as a learning centre and a research facility” he said.

“Getting this through has not been easy. There are many processes to complete and conditions to adhere to. The aquarium building needed many adjustments, which took about seven months to complete and taking the total cost of the project to about B100 million.

“I did not want to go public before because not everything was finished, but all processes are complete and have been approved by Fisheries Department.

“We will have our soft opening soon. We are waiting for Department of Fisheries to inspect to make sure they are healthy,” Mr Supreecha added.

Pisanut Ana-Nan, Director of the Department of Fisheries Phuket office, confirmed that his office was informed by the Phuket from Phuket Provincial Aquatic Animal Inspection Office that dolphins and seals had arrived.

“Their officers confirmed that the dolphins and seals were delivered in correct accordance with the CITES* agreement, and they are now processing the official document to hand the case to the Department of Fisheries,” he said.

“After we receive the official request from them, we will inspect the animals to make sure they are healthy and disease-free. This should be completed within the coming week,” Mr Pisanut added.

Mr Supreecha recognised the huge public controversy surrounding the opening of the Nemo marine park.

“I understand the concern from conservationists, but all of these animals were born in captivity. They are not from the wild and they need training and care,” Mr Supreecha told The Phuket News.

C and C Marine

“Our dolphin specialists will take very good care of them,” he said.

Vociferous online campaigns against the facility have produced copies of documents showing that the company that Phuket Aqua Co Ltd sourced the dolphins from had in turn sourced at least some dolphins from Japan, renowned for the infamous annual dolphin slaughter at the Taiji Cove.

News that the dolphins and seals were in transit to Phuket was broken by the Russian-language newspaper The Dumskaya on October 6, when the newspaper, published in Odessa, Ukraine, reported that a special IL-62M aircraft with several dolphins on board left Odessa heading for “some Asian Country”.

The dolphins were transferred from a “Nemo” dolphinarium owned and operated by Nerum LCC, which owns and operates 30 dolphinariums in Ukraine and abroad under the Nemo marine-park franchise, including the facility in Phuket.

Nerum co-owner Andrey Kislovskiy confirmed to reporters that the dolphins were being transferred to Phuket, The Dumskaya reported.

“According to his words, there are baby Black Sea and Pacific dolphins born in captivity. They are heading to Phuket (the Kingdom of Thailand) where Nerum LCC has just finished construction of a dolphinarium,” said the report. (See story here.)

“The dolphinarium will start operations as soon as the animals arrives,” Mr Kislovskiy is quoted as saying.

He did not disclose how many dolphins were being transferred to Phuket, or how many dolphins his company owns in total, citing commercial confidentiality.

The Dumskaya report included copies of documents that show that the dolphins that have arrived in Phuket could have been bought in Japan.

The newspaper also present photocopies of Japanese export certificates issued to Dolphin Base Corporation based in Taiji-cho. The certificates date back to 2010 and 2013, and show Nerum LCC as the importer in both papers.

* CITES: the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, an international agreement between governments to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.

– Additional reporting by Anton Makhov



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Kkalich | 23 October 2015 - 08:44:31

This is so cruel and so old fashioned!  This is being seen by more and more people as animal cruelty not entertainment.  These brilliant and highly emotional beings have been torn away from their pods.  We don't want a ticket!  Captivity kills!!!  Get with the program and empty the tanks!!!

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helenmet1975 | 22 October 2015 - 10:57:07

Well that's my holiday decision now changed. I was going to Phuket, not now and won't be going Thailand again.

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Rasta008 | 20 October 2015 - 10:49:41

Pretty sure there is a lot of controversy about these, but 
1) To jogi
is the owner Russian or Ukranian? It is as much different as English and Irish.

2) To elflove1 
Singapore, which we all think to be a very Eco-animal-minded country still runs dolphin show in Sentosa - it is a big attraction and tourists still come to watch it.

Dolphinarium in Rayong province (Eastern Thai Seaboard) - also getting good business even in terms of local visitors. Has anyone tried to boycott them? So does the Safari World near Bangkok (owners of PHUKET FANTASEA - same business group). 

3) malczx7r - Since these creatures already live in captivity - really doubt one can return them back to the wild again. It is sad, but there is hardly a safe zone for these creatures anywhere in the world now. They are already raised in captivity and hardly will adapt - most likely they die.

It is a tragedy that such permissions to this kind of entertainment are still being issued in the first place. Agree with all of you this is very sad.

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mackman | 20 October 2015 - 03:08:07

 Any person who purchases a ticket to sit and gawk at an enslaved animal simply to amuse themselves must share in the responsibility for this inexcusable cruelty. This place must be shut down.

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Juniper7 | 19 October 2015 - 19:55:25

Boycott this! These dolphins will have witnessed their families dying. Google The Cove, and get educated.

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jogi | 19 October 2015 - 16:21:13

i am no fan of animal show's, and this illegal dog and cock fight's loved by lot's of Thai's. beside this, it is a Russian franchise and if Russians give there word about from where this dolphins are, you got there word, if they lie to you (break there word) don't worry you get a brand new out of the box new (word/promise), no extra charge.and there was surely no EXTRA charge (tea money) for import and other permit's    

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elflove1 | 19 October 2015 - 16:13:34

Despite the testimonies of famed ex-trainers such as Capello and O'Barry, the forward-looking Land of Smiles takes a huge step backward and prepares to shed tears. Read The Perfect Pair Dolphin Trilogy to discover the true horrors that the beautiful island of Phuket has invited in. Don't live in ignorance.

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malczx7r | 19 October 2015 - 13:04:41

I hope no-one goes and it shuts down, then these highly intelligent creatures can be returned to the wild where they belong, i'm saddened that it all went ahead!

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