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Monday, October 30, 2006

Review the plans for marine park in Sentosa's integrated resort

Letter from Suganya Naidu Straits Times Forum 26 Oct 06

The report "Showtime for Genting and Kerzner" (ST Oct 17) is a vivid example of ironic human practices. It shows the obession of the business community to meet the bottom line.

We are constantly reminded that companies are willing to take advantage of anything to reap the big bucks, with utter disregard for social and environmental implications.

To cater to the whims and fancies of people, the proposed Quest Marine Life Park intends to hold captive nearly 700,000 marine creatures, and create channels for physical contact with them.

It claims that such interactions would help propagate the idea of conservation to the layman. This is a gross misconception.

The whole concept of "captive conservation" is a contradiction in terms.

What would otherwise be impossible in a natural setting (such as swimming with sharks) is realised in the context of the oceanarium.

It is claimed that trapping the creatures for display is the only way to educate the public.

To the horror of conservationists, wild animals are increasingly being associated with playthings.

The stress that these animals experience when taken from their natural habitats is significant and many do not survive the trip. As a consequence of this sudden change in environment, some species are unable to breed successfully in captivity.

The physical degradation of the polar bears in the Singapore Zoo clearly illustrates the case.

When captive breeding fails, so do the progeny and all the hopes of protecting these remarkable creatures.

Therefore, it is necessary to re-evaluate the rationale for the marine park.

Is it merely another economic opportunity to maximise profits or is it a genuine effort in marine wildlife conservation?

If it is the latter, is a man-made glass tank the way to do it?

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