The Marine Life Park in Singapore, dubbed the world’s largest oceanarium, opened its doors Nov. 22 in the Southeast Asian island nation. According to a press release put out by Resorts World Sentosa, the park boasts more than 100,000 marine critters that span more than 800 species housed in more than 45 million liters of water. The aquarium is parceled off into 10 biological zones housing 49 habitats, including habitats of Southeast Asia, Africa, the Arabian Gulf, and the Open Ocean. The Open Ocean habitat also sports the world’s largest viewing panel, measuring 118 feet wide and 27 feet tall.
The opening of the aquarium is not without its controversy however, as large manta rays, hammerhead sharks, and bottlenose dolphins are housed in the exhibit. ChannelNews Asia reported that a bottlenose dolphin died en route to the oceanarium on its flight from the Philippines, where the mammals had undergone training.
Animal Welfare Group Animal Concerns Research and Education Society is said to have urged Resorts World Asia to release the remaining dolphins back into waters off the Solomon Islands where they apparently were captured. Eleven of the 27 dolphins captured off the Solomon Islands have been imported to Singapore and are now at the aquarium. The dolphins are subject to a lawsuit filed by Earth Island Institute Philippines, Philippine Animal Welfare Society and CARE Welfare Philippines. According to Digital Journal, these animal rights groups claim “that even before and while the court was conducting a hearing on the motion for reconsideration, the respondents including Resorts World Sentosa, had already flown out 11 dolphins from the country.” Of the 27 dolphins captured in 2008, three have since died.