DUBAI (AFP) - Twenty-eight dolphins from the South Pacific, flown to the Gulf emirate of Dubai this week despite opposition from wildlife groups, are adapting to their new home in a luxury hotel on a man-made island, the Gulf News reported on Saturday.

The five-star Palm Atlantis Hotel bought the wild bottlenose dolphins from the Solomon Islands, the paper reported, despite several international conservation groups decrying the decision by its government to allow the resumption of the live dolphin trade, saying it is inhumane.

Management at the hotel, located on the giant Palm Jumeirah artificial island on the Dubai coast, told the paper the welfare of the dolphins was paramount.

"Bottlenose dolphins are not an endangered species so it is not a problem. They will get good healthcare and good food," said Frank Murru, chief marine officer at the hotel's parent company, Kerzner International.

The dolphins are being kept in seven, three-metre (almost 10-feet) deep pools and are being acclimatised to humans and trained to interact with hotel guests and visitors, the English language daily reported.

But Murru told the paper the dolphins would not be involved in any shows at the hotel, which is due to open next year, but rather kept in large ocean-like habitats outdoors.

Robert Satu, a director of Solomon Islands Marine Mammal Education Centre and Exporters Limited, earlier said the dolphin sale was done with the approval of the United Arab Emirates and Solomon Islands governments.

The tiny Pacific nation had banned the trade in live dolphins in 2003 following an outcry over a shipment to Mexico. But Satu took the government to court, claiming the ban was illegal, and won in a ruling earlier this year.

Kudos to 'driftglass'


Jack K. said...

Maybe money talks.

I wonder how they will fare.

Hopefully there will be some follow-ups in the years to come.

sage said...

Gee, the rich get their dolphins out of element just because the hotel owners are flush with cash from oil

Polly said...

What? What?
My god..what?
While the world is sinking the rich continue to play.
Do what you want but leave the animals alone!

Diane said...

Here's hoping Satu gets eaten by a shark