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New dolphinarium in Thailand sparks protest

The construction of a dolphinarium in the Thai resort of Phuket sparked outrage from animal rights groups Friday, who said the development was unnecessary, and harmed animals.

"We’re basically taking these animals from the wild to die in a show for our entertainment," said Nancy Gibson, head of the Love Wildlife Foundation.

The groups said they would petition the fisheries department against granting the dolphinarium an aquatic zoo licence for the island resort.

"People won’t come to Phuket for a dolphin show," said Nancy, denying the claim that the dolphinarium would promote tourism.

In recent months wildlife groups including SEEK Phuket (Society, Environment, Economy and Knowledge), the Love Wildlife Foundation and DolphinProject.org have hosted several events including a speech by Richard O’Barry, the host of the 2009 documentary The Cove.

An official at the company that owns the land, and said by activists to be behind the development, declined to comment on the protests, or to confirm or deny that the facility would house dolphins.

A Ukrainian dolphinarium company, linked to the Phuket attraction according to activists, is taking bookings for shows in Phuket from October.


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