Pink dolphin at Underwater World Singapore has non-contagious skin cancer

One of the pink dolphins at Underwater World Singapore, diagnosed with a non-contagious form of skin cancer. -- PHOTO: WILDLIFE WATCHERS AND SEA SHEPHARD CONSERVATION SOCIETY
One of the pink dolphins at Underwater World Singapore, diagnosed with a non-contagious form of skin cancer. -- PHOTO: WILDLIFE WATCHERS AND SEA SHEPHARD CONSERVATION SOCIETY

SINGAPORE - A pink dolphin kept at Underwater World Singapore is suffering from a non-contagious form of skin cancer, the attraction's spokesman has clarified.

"Health checks are conducted regularly and the results show that, apart from the cancer, which is being specifically treated, the dolphin is generally in good health," she told The Straits Times. It is now being treated by a marine mammal veterinarian.

The spokesman was responding to concerns raised by a local wildlife group here about the welfare of the pink dolphins kept at Underwater World Singapore. One of them - a female dolphin called Han - had a "visible head and mouth injury with skin problem", the wildlife group had charged in a 31-page report.

Other findings mentioned in the report included the rusty enclosures, dolphins being made to perform unnatural acts, such as balancing a basketball on its snout, and the marine mammals being made to perform to excessively loud music.

These observations were made after investigators from the group, Wildlife Watcher, together with representatives from global environmental group Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, bought tickets to attend two shows in July and August.

The report was sent to the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) and Haw Par Corp - the organisation that manages Underwater World Singapore - in early October.

The AVA told The Straits Times that it has inspected the facility and "found the dolphins to be in satisfactory condition".

Indo-Pacific humpbacked dolphins, or pink dolphins, are listed in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. This means the animals are threatened with extinction and that commercial international trade in them is prohibited.