Thursday, August 19, 2010

Solomon Islands Businessman Francis Chow Imprisons Eight Dolphins to Sell them to Marine Parks in Australia and the US

Humm, ever wonder where all those theme parks and aquariums get dolphins? Well, here we go – from sleaze that imprison them and then shop them around.


New face in Solomons dolphin trade

Ilya Gridneff
August 19, 2010 - 4:44PM

Animal rights activists are outraged by a Solomon Islands businessman who has virtually imprisoned eight "totally stressed" dolphins in a tiny pool for months while he tries to sell them to marine parks in Australia and the US.

Despite opposition from both the Australian and New Zealand governments, Solomons dolphins are captured and sold to aquariums, marine parks and even hotels around the world, often fetching as much as $200,000.

Solomons dolphin activist Lawrence Makili, who is the Earth Island Institute's Pacific Regional Director, has told AAP that despite the institute's tireless efforts to end the live trade, another dolphin dealer had emerged.

The American-based Earth Island Institute earlier this year began paying Solomon villagers to stop hunting dolphins.

At the time, Canadian Chris Porter, the so-called 'Darth-Vader' of the Solomons dolphin trade, had a change of heart and switched from dolphin seller to dolphin saver.

But for the past six months local businessman Francis Chow has been trying to sell eight dolphins he keeps in a pen.

"The real concern is how the dolphins are being held," Makili said on Thursday.

"They've been sitting in a tiny shallow pool for six months now, it's especially bad at low tide.

"These poor animals are totally stressed".

Makili said the Solomons government once banned the trade but now, in the pursuit of much-needed revenue, ignores directives by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

"Hopefully the next government will have a clear dolphin policy," he said.

"There is confusion and an absence of regulation for the welfare of these animals.

"The Solomon government quota was 100 but CITES said it should be reduced down to 10. Then the government downsized to 50 but we say 50 is too much."

Mr Chow told AAP his 'Solomons Marine Wildlife Park' was an adequate dolphin enclosure.
"We are not killing the dolphins, we are exporting them to marine parks like in Australia or America, we are not breaking any laws.

"I follow the law, we use scientists, follow procedures.
"Why don't those hypocrites stop driving Japanese cars and go and harass the Japanese whalers.
"They harass us, bully local MPs, trespass and give us a hard time. I don't know why all the fuss?"

Mr Chow said last year he traded 20 dolphins and hoped to sell as many this year.

"I have a seafront property so I want to make use of it, we've also been hurt by the global financial crisis and trying to make business," he said.

"Now the market is low, dolphins are worth about $50,000."

Some Solomon Islanders still hunt dolphins for food and use their teeth for traditional 'shell money' but since 2003 they have also been hunted for profit on the live export market.

No comments:

Search for More Content

Custom Search
Bookmark and Share

Past Articles