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New dolphinarium planned for Chile

This report is copied verbatim from the WDCS Newsletter

WDCS has received reports that the construction of a new dolphinarium is
underway in Iquique, Chile and that the project proposes to hold six bottlenose
dolphins and six sea lions.

The proposal reportedly includes the capture of dolphins off the coast of
Iquique and would thus open the first dolphin capture operation in Chile since
1983. According to the newspaper "Diario El Nortino", permits to capture the
dolphins in Chilean waters have been awarded by Chile's National Fisheries
Service SERNAP (Servicio Nacional de Pesca).

Surveys or assessments of dolphin populations off Iquique (and virtually almost
off the entire Chilean coast) are reportedly non-existent.

In 1995, two dolphins were imported to Iquique from Cuba for public display.
Within only a few weeks, one of the dolphins had died. With conditions worsening
at the facility and concern for the plight of the remaining dolphin 'Menique'
raising international interest, the Chilean Authorities allowed Menique to
return to Cuba in 1997 to enter a rehabilitation programme pending release into
the wild. This was only made possible with the co-operation of the Chilean
government. Sadly, Menique died at the Acuario Nacional in Havana, Cuba in 1998,
never having recovered from the conditions he had suffered in captivity.

In 1999, the Chilean authorities again acted responsibly, preventing the import
of three dolphins to Santiago for a captive facility.

Please write polite letters to express your concerns to the Chilean Fisheries
authorities and ask if it is true that they have authorised dolphin and sea lion
captures and under what justifications, despite the fact that surveys on dolphin
populations in Chilean waters are virtually non-existent and that sealion
displays across Chile are closing down.

Please send urgent letters and faxes to both Fisheries agencies (details below)
and send copies of your letters and any replies you may receive to WDCS,
Brookfield House, 38 St Paul Street, Chippenham, SN15 1LY.

Mr. Felipe Sandoval Precht
Subsecretario de Pesca
Ministerio de Economía
Teatinos 120, Piso 11
Santiago, Chile
FAX: + 56 2 671 8143

Mr. Sergio Mujica
Director Servicio Nacional De Pesca - SERNAP
Bellavista 168, Piso 16,
Valparaíso, Chile
FAX: (56-32) 819400

Click here for the WDCS website
Date Posted: 08/03/2002
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