10 Feb 2005

Solomons dolphin park owner rejects neglect claims

8:43 am on 10 February 2005

The operator of a controversial dolphin park in Solomon Islands has rejected claims that his dolphins are depressed and poorly cared for.

Dolphin Island Retreat employs 35 people locally as well as many fishermen to catch food for the dolphins.

Christopher Porter said a claim by activists that the animals were lying prone in the water and were therefore depressed, was false and unscientific.

Dolphin Island Retreat has attracted few tourists following worldwide outrage over its consignment of 28 bottlenose dolphins to a marine park in Mexico in August 2003.

Porter said he was proud of his operation's promotion of marine animal conservation in the Solomon Islands.

Following the Solomon Islands government's decision last month to ban further capture and live exports of dolphins, the remaining animals will be rehabilitated for release back into the wild.