01 October 2009

Subic marine park starts dolphin-breeding program

The operator of the Ocean Adventure marine park in this free port has embarked on a cetacean breeding program to boost the number of dolphins in its open-water viewing facilities.

According to a statement from the Subic Bay Marine Exploratorium Inc. (SBMEI), the company that operates Ocean Adventure and its sister facility, Camayan Beach Resort & Hotel, four more dolphins were acquired recently from Japan for the marine park’s breeding program.

Three female and one male bottle- nosed dolphins were the new arrivals, the SBMEI said. They are now undergoing a routine 30-day quarantine and acclimatization period before their introduction to the existing dolphin population at the park.

Ocean Adventure, which is one of the most popular tourism attractions in the Subic Bay Free Port today, is expanding its marine park business that features trained dolphins, false killer whales and sea lions that perform in a huge open-water habitat.

The SBMEI said that under a permit approved by the Department of Agriculture, the four new dolphins will be part of a cetacean breeding program “so that a stable and sustainable population of bottle-nosed dolphins at Ocean Adventure may be achieved.”

The dolphin breeding program was pushed by the firm after it became “extremely successful” with its sea-lion reproductive-management program that has produced three healthy sea- lion pups this year. The company said a total of seven pups have been born so far at the marine park since it began operations in 2001.

Before they were transferred to Subic, the four dolphins lived in an open-water facility in Japan, where they underwent some preliminary conditioning and training for the past two years, the SBMEI said.

At their new Ocean Adventure home, the new dolphins will undergo further training from Ocean Adventure’s animal-care experts and training staff to “enhance the animals’ development through internationally recognized positive-reinforcement training techniques,” the SBMEI said.

Aside from being used in the SBMEI’s cetacean breeding program, the four dolphins will also become the “new additions to our already exciting lineup of entertainment and activities,” said John Corcoran, a director of the SBMEI.

The company said it has opened two new shows this month that feature trained animals at Ocean Adventure.

The first one, the Rap, Jump and Roll Show,” is presented at a new seaside stadium and features international trampoline performers, along with the park’s famous animal mascots and dancers.

The second is called “Walk on the Wild Side,” shown at the new Eco Theater, and includes forest animals, along with Aeta tribesmen who demonstrate jungle survival skills.

SBMEI chairman and CEO Timothy Desmond also announced recently that the firm has opened “Adventure Beach,” which was designed for special events, group outings and team-building activities. (Henry EmpeƱo , Business Mirror Online)