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Dolphin export from Solomons feared

Urgent Release: Monday 14th November 2005

News release

Dolphin export from Solomons feared

Forty wild-caught dolphins that have been held captive in the Solomon Islands for up to three years are expected to be exported illegally to the Bahamas this week. Reliable sources say the dolphins could be taken out of the country on two separate chartered flights passing through Fiji, Tahiti and Mexico en route to their final destination.

The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) is urging officials in the Solomon Islands to prevent the dolphins from leaving the country. The global animal welfare charity is also calling on Fiji, Tahiti and Mexico to refuse transfer permits for the dolphins, which are believed to be destined for the Bahamas.

This is the third time that these dolphins, captured in 2002, have been part of a planned export. The most recent case in August 2004 provoked international outrage and resulted in the Solomon Islands Government issuing a ban on dolphin exports. Despite this ban, attempts are now being made to sell the dolphins overseas, which may also be in violation of the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), of which the Bahamas is a signatory.

Regional Manager for the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) in New Zealand, Kimberly Muncaster, said: “The global trade in dolphins is fuelled by greed and is inherently cruel. These animals belong in the wild and not in glorified fish tanks where they will be exploited for entertainment. This export must be stopped.”

WSPA is concerned that if the dolphins survive the export, they are then doomed to a life in captivity. WSPA is urging the Solomon Islands Government to enforce its ban on the export of these dolphins and for the Bahamas, a CITES party, to refuse to import dolphins from the Solomon Islands, as Mexico did last year following concerns expressed by CITES.

ENDS

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