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World Islands project plans "Austrian" island with dolphins

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, January 5, 2010) - The Solomon Islands is likely to be one reliable source of commercial dolphin export to a newly planned dolphin pool on The World Islands in Dubai.

The dolphin pool to be built by European Development Company Kleindienst is promised to be a fascinating spot.

Kleindienst although refuse to point out where the dolphins will come from promised that the dolphins will come from reliable sources and is keen to avoid the negative publicity that followed the Atlantis Hotel’s purchase of wild dolphins from the Solomon Islands.

The plan has now attracted criticisms from marine conservation groups.

Dubai-based Damien Byrne, of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society said the planned dolphin pool on The World islands should be scrapped immediately.

The marine protection activist said the dolphin pool on the Austrian island makes a mockery of a claim that the island will be "environmentally friendly".

The European Company, Kleindienst, has distributed brochures in which the future inhabitants of the Austria Island will "play and swim with the animals" and will please "sports fans and animal lovers".

The brochure promises that several of the "designer villas" on the Austrian island will have a basement level with "fascinating views into the aquarium and its swimming inhabitants".

"The animals concerned are not straight out of the wild, but are domesticated dolphins from established aquariums," the company said.

It said the islands will be "the first environmentally friendly luxury holiday paradise in the world".

Chief executive Josef Kleindienst told 7DAYS the Austria Island would not be complete until 2015 and that is was premature to talk about the performance times for the dolphins or any specific details.

"However, we can confirm that the dolphinarium will operate under the highest recognised marine life protection guidelines in the areas of our business," he said.

The company said the dolphin pool will be an integral part of its island collection, known as ‘The Heart of Europe’, which includes Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, Germany, Holland and Belgium.

Three more islands represent Monte Carlo, Geneva and Luxembourg.

But the marine activist Mr. Byrne said that he was shocked by the decision to use dolphins as entertainment.

Byrne, who has traveled on Sea Shepherd missions to confront Japanese whaling ships, said that Kleindienst should avoid the bad publicity that Atlantis experienced and scrap the plan.

"Dolphins are very intelligent animals and we should be rebuilding their habitat, not parading them for amusement," he said.

Solomon Islands government has approved an export of up to 100 dolphins a year.

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