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Why I'm Against the Manila Ocean Park

Posted by siyerwin on Monday, November 26, 2007 at 5:58 PM

Are you not wondering why dolphin shows and and marine parks are popping up like mushrooms here in the Philippines? First we have Subic's Ocean Adventure and then last year we had the Indonesian-based traveling dolphin show at SM Mall of Asia. And now, the newest and boldest addition is the Manila Ocean Park which is said to be so high-tech, it rivals other oceanariums ever created.

The Philippines is turning out to be a good market for these businesses. In fact, Manila Ocean Park is tapping into the Filipinos' penchant for "malling" and seamlessly built a mall right on the park. Pretty darn clever if I may say so.

However, with this country's poor record in animal welfare, one wonders about how this mega-structure with billions of Pesos in funding will fare in ensuring the humane treatment of the animals in its care, especially those that do not fare well in captivity. One puzzles over how on Earth they are going to prevent the exposure of these animals to the pollutants in the waters of Manila Bay. Will the marine animals be treated differently from how Conde, the maltreated race horse, was and will the government agencies entrusted to make sure that they are be able to do their job this time?

Below is the official statement of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PeTA-Philippines) regarding the Manila Ocean Park. The Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) and Earth Island Institute (EII-Philippines) share these sentiments and unite in crying out against the opening of another marine park in our country.

If you share these sentiments, I urge you to post about it in your blogs and ask your friends and family not to support the Manila Ocean Park and Ocean Adventure and any other dolphin shows that may pop up any time. Please remember that each time you pay for an entrance into these zoos, you're encouraging more businessmen to kidnap more wild animals from their natural habitats and from the freedom of the open seas and bring them into the miserable life of captivity. Please feel free to forward this to your friends through email.

------------PeTA Statement Starts Here------------

We are opposed to keeping animals in captivity in aquariums because of the suffering it causes them.

At home in the ocean, orcas and dolphins may swim up to 100 miles a day, but in captivity, most are given only 60-foot tanks. The chlorine, copper sulfate, and other harsh chemicals used to keep tanks clean causes some dolphins to go blind and makes their skin peel off. And because dolphins navigate by echolocation- -bouncing sonar waves off other objects to determine shape, density, distance, and location--the reverberations from their own sonar bouncing off the tank walls drives some dolphins insane. And marine mammals in captivity often develop ulcers from the stress of being gawked at for long periods of time each day.

In the wild, orca whales live in closely knit pods, or family units, each made up of a mother, her offspring, and their offspring. Orcas never leave their mothers, and a pod's adult males are older sons, not breeding mates. Dolphins swim together in family pods of three to 10 individuals or tribes of hundreds. Some researchers believe these mammals may be the most socially bonded beings on earth. So imagine the trauma when these intelligent animals are torn from their lifelong families and caged alone or with strangers in the artificial world of a marine park.

Capturing even one wild orca or dolphin disrupts the entire pod. Orcas and dolphins become frantic upon seeing their companions captured and may even try to save them. When Namu, a wild orca captured off the coast of Canada, was towed to the Seattle Public Aquarium in a steel cage, a group of wild orcas followed for miles. When one captive orca at Sea World--San Diego, Corky, was played an audio tape of her wild relatives, she immediately recognized their "voices" and began to tremble uncontrollably.

Marine mammals' difficulty in adapting to this alien world can be seen in their dramatically diminished life expectancies in captivity: While female orcas can live as long as 90 years in the wild, orcas taken captive survive only an average of seven to eight years. Dolphins can live up to 50 years, but more than half of all captive dolphins die within the first two years of captivity; those remaining live an average of only six years. Life in a tank is literally a death sentence.

And while aquariums claim they are educational, a true understanding and appreciation of wildlife cannot come from looking at bored, frustrated animals trapped in tanks, every aspect of their existences regulated. What many people really learn when they look at caged animals is how animals act in captivity. Aquariums also teach that it's acceptable to capture wild animals and imprison them.

We at PETA prefer to see study and learning about animals done on their terms, in their own natural environments. Animals who belong to endangered species are no happier in cages and tanks than animals who are plentiful. The ultimate salvation for those animals lies in protection of their habitats, not in a life sentence in a tank. On those occasions when animals must be kept in captivity (i.e. those who have been born into captivity or are unable to be rehabilitated) a for-profit aquarium situation is still far from ideal. Far better are non-profit sanctuaries that place the welfare of the animals above catering to the public or making a profit.

Caring people around the globe have already started to make life a little better for orcas, dolphins, and other marine mammals. Consumer boycotts have forced all of England's marine mammal exhibits to close. In Brazil, it is now illegal to use marine mammals for entertainment. Israel has prohibited the importation of dolphins for use in marine parks. Canada no longer allows beluga whales to be captured and exported. South Carolina has banned exhibits of whales and dolphins. You can make a difference by urging marine parks to rehabilitate and return captive dolphins and orcas to their families.


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  1. 20 comments: Responses to “ Why I'm Against the Manila Ocean Park ”

  2. By babybranny on Nov 27, 2007, 1:46:00 PM

    in! i love how you explained it :)

  3. By meekerz on Nov 28, 2007, 9:53:00 AM

    i hope it's ok to copy and past this article on my blog :) thanks.

  4. By siyerwin on Nov 28, 2007, 10:12:00 AM

    It's very ok, meekerz! Thanks for spreading the word!!! :)

  5. By babybranny on Nov 28, 2007, 12:25:00 PM

    sherwin kulang yung post ko :P

    it's supposed to be:

    "great post sherwin! i love how you explained it :)"

  6. By Jobelle on Dec 5, 2007, 11:08:00 PM

    I am crying about the story... so touching...

  7. By Anonymous on Feb 14, 2008, 1:40:00 AM

    something needs to be done. any way i can help? im fed up with knowing about this inhumane treatment to the animals and doing nothing to help them.

  8. By Anonymous on Mar 4, 2008, 6:06:00 PM

    I haven't visited the Manila Ocean Park but by looking at tv shows i think there are no marine mammals inside the park.

    I would not try to make any conclusions as of now, but I hope this park is not a sort of petshop in which "let's just replace with a new one once they're dead", instead have a self sustaining tanks. Looking at the fishes from the tv though, the lion fish seems to be stressed, the arapaima tank looks overcrowded, and the cichlids seems unnatural.

    So I guess my message to the Manila Ocean Park team is to try harder...

  9. By Anonymous on Mar 26, 2008, 10:03:00 PM

    The Manila Ocean Park is very different from dolphin shows. Do you think zoos are bad as well?

    I've been a fish keeper for a long time now and I see no harm in upscaling your household aquarium into something as gigantic as the Manila Ocean Park. A vast number of the fish in the park came from local hobbyist and local breeders. This gives a chance for people to see the animals/fishes in a larger habitat. In fact, some of the fishes there actually grew quite substantially compared to being stored in a 100 gallon aquarium for a couple of years. Almost all their accusations against the Park has no basis and are merely assumptions. Pathetic...

  10. By siyerwin on Mar 30, 2008, 1:43:00 AM

    I feel sorry for any wild animal put inside a cage no matter how big the cage may be.

    thanks for your comment.

  11. By scubarazzi on Jun 1, 2008, 1:08:00 PM

    "something needs to be done. any way i can help? i'm fed up with knowing about this inhumane treatment to the animals and doing nothing to help them."

    i would agree, especially with regards to any inhumane treatment to marine mammals... IF any were actually taking place! fact is, there are NO marine mammals in Manila Ocean Park, and there never were any!

    if you're going to spread posts like this that are based on nonexistent facts, then shame on you. you, PAWS and PETA should know better.

    personally, i'm all for the proper and humane treatment of our animal brethren; however let's not, in the process, mistreat our fellow human beings! falsely accusing people and passing judgement based on untruths is definitely NOT ethical.

  12. By siyerwin on Jun 3, 2008, 12:44:00 PM

    hi, scubarazzi. Please see the ongoing debate at HERE for my response.

    Thanks for dropping by.

  13. By scubarazzi on Jun 4, 2008, 10:30:00 AM

    hi siyerwin. yes, i've seen the posts at babybranny's site. apparently, there are additional comments being made after the last one you posted. i was gonna comment as well, but rap, mailbox & jp said all i wanted to say.

    you might want to reply, though...

  14. By siyerwin on Jun 4, 2008, 10:55:00 AM

    Hehe. Yes, I've seen their replies through the email multiply alerts but Multiply is blocked here at the office and I'm swamped with other stuff after work. Will probably get back to it during the weekend. I probably have gas for one more post and leave it at. :)

    Thanks again.

  15. By scubarazzi on Jun 5, 2008, 10:37:00 AM

    u can unblock it by using a freeproxy. try either or; u should be able to use any social networking site thru these.

  16. By siyerwin on Jun 5, 2008, 3:56:00 PM

    They're both blocked already. Our IT dept. usually blocks these things as soon as they get wind of it. Pag bago siguro gagana pa. ;)

  17. By scubarazzi on Jun 5, 2008, 7:56:00 PM

    kahit di na pwede??

    tindi naman ng IT nyo...

  18. By siyerwin on Jun 6, 2008, 3:30:00 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  19. By siyerwin on Jun 6, 2008, 3:31:00 PM

    yup that, too. Proxycret used to work and a number of other masking services but they get blocked sooner or later. i gave up looking. hold your horses mr. scubarazzi. :) will contribute my final take on the matter during the weekend. see you around.

  20. By Anonymous on Jul 26, 2008, 5:55:00 PM

    I've been to Manila Ocean park and I didn't see much.

    There was a tank there, with a school of fish and they were just going around in circles!

    Thanks for making this article I can use this to do my research paper about Ocean Parks not helping preserve the lives of marine creatures.

    Thank you very much.:)

  21. By Anonymous on Dec 8, 2008, 7:57:00 PM

    hm. lets see. We are humans. if we look at it at the simplest way, animals (mammals or not) should not be kept locked up, away from where they truly should be. I would say that more entertainment is gained than knowledge in these sort of parks. though we could still learn from them, there are other means than keeping them in tanks. I do not hold grudges against them, but i still feel sympathy for animals.

    Bible version: we are steward of the earth. made with the capability to take care of everything else. but i dont think that includes cages.

    oh, and zoos are just as bad, if you'd ask me.
    but maybe if these parks can make much much more ideal homes for these animals, i'd consider it acceptable.

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Please do not leave your email or contact numbers in the comments. Email me directly at sherwin @ if you have concerns or questions. This blog is increasingly attracting breeders/pet sellers trying to advertise their business through the comments and I don't want that. The blog seems to also be becoming a bulletin board of sorts for people who wish to abandon their pets. allows no way to edit your comments so there I have no other option but to delete comments that I deem inappropriate in this regard. I apologize for the inconvenience. Again, if you have any questions/concerns, better to email me at sherwin @ than to comment here. Thank you very much!

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