Green light for seal enclosure despite dolphin death
DOLPHIN Marine Magic will be allowed to build a new seal enclosure and continue to exhibit animals despite concerns about their welfare.
Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair confirmed the approval in New South Wales Parliament after Greens MP Mehreen Faruqi asked about a two-year-old dolphin's death at the Coffs Harbour tourist attraction in October.
The dolphin was one of six kept in an enclosure that was too small by Department of Primary Industries standards - until the DPI granted the park a special "variation" relaxing the standards in June.
"Why has Pet Porpoise Pool Pty Ltd, the operator of Dolphin Marine Magic, had its licence to display animals renewed given the obvious breaches of the standards for exhibiting bottle-nosed dolphins in NSW resulting in the death of the dolphin Ji-Ling?" Ms Faruqi asked.
Mr Blair said the department had worked with Dolphin Marine Magic to ensure it complied with benchmarks for exhibiting seals.
"I am advised that the department has renewed Dolphin Marine Magic's authorities to exhibit animals after the operators committed to installing a new seal enclosure in the near future to ensure full compliance with seal housing standards," he said.
"Both Dolphin Marine Magic and the Zoo and Aquarium Association, the national zoo industry association, have provided the department with undertakings that the welfare of the seals will be satisfactory while the new facility is constructed.
"The department will continue to monitor the situation to ensure the seals' welfare and to ensure compliance." -ARM NEWSDESK