Whale sharks in Singapore?

Read on Wild Singapore that the two front contenders for the Sentosa Integrated Resort (thereafter known as the IR, in the fondly cherished S'porean tradition of making acronyms out of everything...) have unleashed plans for mega aquaria in the IR, complete with living breathing whale sharks!

Now I like whale sharks as much as any other person, and I admit that I visited the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium to see the whale sharks there, but I have two thoughts about this:

1. Why another mega aquarium on Sentosa? Isn't the SENTOSA Underwater World already there?? Would there be enough critical mass to support TWO aquarium facilities on one puny 1/3-manmade island? Isn't there a real reef outside?

2. Okay, it seems my thoughts are splintering into many mini-thoughts, but still, to get back to the topic- Why whale sharks? I know the Okinawa facility seems to finally have success in keeping them alive and well, but it probably wasn't easy to get there, and they've had failures (i.e. deaths, sickness, injuries) along the way. No matter how big the tank was (and it was plenty huge), I felt a little sad for the 3 whale sharks (plus all the manta rays, eagle rays, sharks, etc) swimming in circles around the tank, with no destination to go to. These animals migrate huge distances over the course of their lives, how can you ever build a tank that's big enough?

I know this brings back 'the role of zoos' question- preservation of the animals in the wild vs the conservation value of educating the public through close contact with said animals. However, is this the only way? And most importantly, is this the best way of doing things?

If you wanna speak up to someone other than the newspapers about this issue, here are the contacts:

Genting International
Corrinne Ling
Tel: + 60 3 2333 6073

Weber Shandwick
Ivan Tan
Tel: +65 6825 8027
Mobile: +65 9635 9765

Kerzner International (Singapore)
Hill & Knowlton (SEA) Pte Ltd
Amy Kong DID: (65) 6390 3376 HP: (65) 9452 7626

Julie Ong DID: (65) 6823 3541 HP: (65) 9734 0122

Government Feedback Channel
REACH website (YES! This is an ACRONYM!!! I've gotta find it what it means though!)


Wai said…
Hm. I did hear murmurings, but not officially until now. I can obviously see how this is a bad thing. I seriously wonder about the zoos point you're making. Why would a huge resort care about the zoos, research, education and conservation? They just want to use it as a draw for tourists, without thinking through the issues. All I've read about is the "experience" rather than any real conservation messages. This is just the latest proposal in the biggest/tallest/best whatever phase that the stb and sentosa developments is going through, and how successful have the previous attempts been?
However, I don't think I fully understand the issues here. As usual, we (I?) have a lack of information. :(
Papa Jeff said…
Money is a powerful movitator .. I've started buying 4d and toto in the hopes I will strike it rich so that I can retreat to some unpopulated locale in the near future.

Haha. :)
Papa Jeff said…
By the way, REACH stands for Reaching Everyone for Active Citizenry @ Home, and is the new, revitalised Feedback Unit.

Jt said…
a cartoon I did on the whale shark issue

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