Why is Ocean Park Hong Kong Partnering with India?
Photo of protesters at Empty the Tanks, Ocean Park Hong Kong
Ocean Advocate News was recently contacted by Zoe Ng, a Hong Kong native who is passionate about having Ocean Park Hong Kong close down their dolphin exhibit.
Ocean Park Hong Kong, open since 1977, is a marine mammal theme park featuring dolphins, seals, sharks and many other animals.
Photo credit: Anniewongw
Ng has spearheaded several protests at Ocean Park’s Empty The Tanks Hong Kong and Save Japan Dolphin Day at the local Japanese Embassy. She has also written a petition asking Ocean Park to phase out and close their dolphin exhibit.
According to Ng, Ocean Park holds twenty-one dolphins at the park. Six of them were wild caught from Indonesia and one wild caught from Taiwan. The rest are captive born. She reports that Ocean Park also exchanges animals on breeding loans, but it is difficult to know specifics because they are not forthcoming with information
Ng says the deepest tank in Ocean Park is 5.5 metres and some of the pools are only 3-4 metres deep. The park is redeveloping the site, but only for human benefit and not the animals. The dolphins received two LED screens and Ocean Park is making another large water park for humans.
The most recent concern came in December when Ocean Park announced the appointment of Nijhawan Group as their first-ever sales and marketing representative in India. According to the Ocean Park press release,
With a history of over 40 years and a network of 42 offices across India, Nijhawan Group is ideally positioned to help drive awareness and attendance for Ocean Park among family and leisure travellers in India.
Ms. Vivian Lee, Executive Director of Sales & Marketing at Ocean Park, said, “Ocean Park has worked closely with the Hong Kong Tourism Board to promote Hong Kong as a destination for travellers from India. The appointment of Nijihawan Group, with its long history and extensive presence throughout India, will help further strengthen our brand awareness and appeal among Indian travellers.”
Mr. Ankush Nijhawan, Managing Director of Nijhawan Group, said, “We are honoured to be selected by Ocean Park to be their first-ever sales and marketing representative in India, which further strengthens the portfolio of world-class hospitality brands and attractions we represent."
The new partnership between Ocean Park and Nijhawan Group has brought on disappointing irony. In 2013, India’s Ministry of Government and Forests issued a ban on dolphinarium in the country, stating in part:
Whereas cetaceans in general are highly intelligent and sensitive, and various
scientists who have researched dolphin behavior have suggested that the unusually
high intelligence; as compared to other animals means that dolphin should be seen
as “non-human persons” and as such should have their own specic rights and is
morally unacceptable to keep them captive for entertainment purpose,
Whereas, cetaceans in general do not survive well in captivity. Confinement
in captivity can seriously compromise the welfare and survival of all types of
cetaceans by altering their behaviour and causing extreme distress.
Therefore, in view of the foregoing, the Ministry of Environment and
Forests, Government of India have decided not to allow establishment of
dolpinarium in the country. The State Governments are advised to reject any such
proposal for dolphinarium to any person/ persons, organizations, Government
agencies, private or public enterprises that involves import, capture of cetacean
species to establish for commercial entertainment, private or public exhibition and
interaction purposes whatsoever.
On behalf of Zoe Ng, Ocean Advocate News invites our readers to contact Mr. Nijhawan at firstname.lastname@example.org to remind him of the ban on dolphinarium in India and the reasons why the Nijhawan Group should reconsider their partnership with Ocean Park.