In the face of growing opposition, the Resorts World at Sentosa (RWS) has opted against pursuing plans to install a major aquarium exhibit designed to display captive whale sharks.
Sea Shepherd, in conjunction with other conservation-oriented groups, has been actively opposing this development in Singapore for months via an international whale shark petition.
RWS sites these petitions amongst other reasons as affecting its decision to abandon its plans to keep whale sharks in captivity. Over 9,000 signatures have been collected to date (www.whalesharkpetition.com).
RWS spokeswoman Krist Boo admits the aquarium may not be able to provide proper care for the creatures which can reach lengths of to 15-meters in the ocean, dive to depths below 980 meters, and migrate thousands of kilometers through open water. Whale sharks are vulnerable to extinction and often die in captivity. Multiple whale sharks have died in recent years at the Georgia Aquarium, raising concerns at efforts to keep whale sharks captive and emphasizing the need to protect the species in the wild from environmental devastation and the growing shark finning industry.
Says Captain Paul Watson: "Over 24 whale sharks have died in captivity since they became fashionable aquarium exhibits. I am very pleased to see that World Resorts at Sentosa appears to be changing its decision to keep whale sharks in captivity, and hope that they stick with this important decision. This sets a precedent and will hopefully influence other aquariums to reconsider their whale shark exhibits, which are clearly death sentences for the sharks."