Tender, loving care for dolphins at RWS Dolphin Island

At Dolphin Island, a team works round the clock to tend to the creatures' needs

Long before the doors open daily at 10.30am at Dolphin Island at Resorts World Sentosa, 27 Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins from the Solomon Islands are already splashing about in the 11 large interconnecting lagoons.

At the crack of dawn, a team of marine veterinarians, specialists and animal husbandry professionals, together with 35 trainers from more than 10 countries, gathers to greet the dolphins and check on their well-being.

The team works round the clock on shifts to monitor the 23 adult dolphins and four calves and make sure they are well cared for.

Since its opening in 2013, Dolphin Island has welcomed four healthy calves.

The name of one of them, Isabelle, which was born on Dec 17, 2014, was chosen after a public voting exercise.

The latest addition is Kudali, which was born on Jan 31 this year.

More than 500 babies of close to 10 species were born between October last year and April this year at the S.E.A. Aquarium, which is also at Resorts World Sentosa, and Dolphin Island.

Dolphin Island was dogged by controversy even before it opened in 2013 as animal rights groups in Singapore and the Philippines lobbied for the release of the dolphins.

Nevertheless, the attraction has provided thousands of visitors the opportunity to learn more about dolphins in ways they would otherwise not have the chance to.

These included a special invitation in 2013 to underprivileged children from The Little Arts Academy. They were the first visitors to meet the dolphins.

Last year, pupils from Kranji Primary School were invited to take part in an immersive learning journey in which they got to meet the latest calf and join a dolphin interaction programme.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 26, 2016, with the headline 'Tender, loving care for dolphins'. Print Edition | Subscribe