Friday, 17 July 2009

Four More Dolphins Arrive in Grand Cayman

Grand Cayman received four more bottlenose dolphins into its West Bay dolphin parks this month.

Two arrived at Dolphin Cove by Morgan’s Harbour on Saturday, 18 July, bringing the number there up to six.

Two had arrived at Dolphin Discovery in North West Point just the previous day, bringing the total number there to eight, the number of dolphins its import permit covers.

Dolphin Cove’s import permit caters to 12 dolphins.

“We may bring two more in another six months or so but that should be it for the moment then. I don’t really see the need for 12,” Operations Manager with Dolphin Cove Neil Burrowes

Both facilities brought in their first batch of dolphins back in December of last year, just before they opened for business.

At Dolphin Discovery, the two just recently flown in were supposed to be part of that original shipment but a problem with their CITES certification prevented that from happening at the time.

CITES is The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and the country of export, Tortola in the BVI, needed to prepare a re–export document for the mammals.

The Department of Environment in Cayman is the Cayman Islands Scientific Authority under CITES and they had to advise the Management Authority (The Ministry of Tourism and Environment) of the validity and accuracy of the CITES documentation.

Speaking to the Caymanian Compass on Thursday about the recent importations Mrs Ebanks–Petrie said, “We had them submit their CITES documents, we examined them and were satisfied with them and recommended they be accepted to our Management Authority.”

Assistant Director of Agriculture (acting) with the Department of Agriculture Brian Crichlow said that each of the most recent dolphin shipments were met on arrival by the Department of Agriculture’s veterinary officers and the head of the Agricultural Health Inspection Services unit.

“All of the accompanying documentation including the official health certificate endorsed by the Government of the exporting country were inspected and verified in order. The animals were examined and accompanied by the veterinary officer to the facility where they were observed to be exhibiting normal behaviour including eating.”

But Mr. Billy Adam of the Keep Dolphins Free in the Cayman Islands campaign group is livid that the dolphins were brought in when the two facilities still do not have Operating Licences, required under law (The Animals Law).

“We’re seeing continuing government law breaking because under the PPM government they allowed the facilities to open without operating licences and under the UDP government they are now allowing them to continue to bring in more dolphins.”

Mr. Crichlow confirmed that to date no operating licences have been issued to any commercial animal facilities, such as boarding kennels, pet shops, guard dog services or the keeping of animals for public display, as the enabling regulations necessary for issuing of these licences are not yet in place.

“The Ministry and the Department have been working with the legal department and a draft copy of the regulations has been prepared,” he said.

“Initial comments on these were submitted and we are currently in the process of submitting final comments. Once these draft regulations have been finalised they will be submitted for approval and Gazetted.”

He stated that the absence of these operating licences does not negate the Department of Agriculture’s ability to regulate these facilities, as other sections of the law provide the department with the mechanisms for protecting animal health and welfare.

“Therefore, should any enterprise operate in such a manner as to negatively impact the health or welfare of the animals involved, the department under the law has the power to address that situation.”

Mr. Crichlow said that from the outset, the Department of Agriculture has and continues to monitor both dolphin facilities through inspection visits that are conducted twice per month.

“To date both facilities continue to operate to acceptable standards and in accordance with the ‘Conditions for…Housing, Husbandry and Use of Bottlenose Dolphins in the Cayman Islands’ that were agreed to by both entities.

“The operating license once issued will not materially alter the level of monitoring or the operational standards against which these facilities are being evaluated.”

Mr. Adam said Cayman is a lawless society.

“Good governance is the responsibility of the United Kingdom,” he said, but added that Cayman’s politicians are also responsible.

“There are many laws broken regularly, so what’s another one?” he asked.

He said a new constitution will only create more lawlessness and it is the people who will suffer in the end.

“All of the accompanying documentation including the official health certificate endorsed by the Government of the exporting country were inspected and verified in order. The animals were examined and accompanied by the veterinary officer to the facility where they were observed to be exhibiting normal behaviour including eating.”

Brian Crichlow, assistant director of agriculture (acting) with the Department of Agriculture

SOURCE: http://www.caycompass.com/cgi-bin/CFPnews.cgi?ID=10384170

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