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And the Sammy saga continues…
Dubai’s Atlantis hotel has supposedly released the whale shark it ‘rescued’ back into the waters of the Gulf. But questions remain about the ‘secrecy’ surrounding the event.
March 23, 2010 2:52 by kippreport
“Show us the proof,” screams a headline in today’s 7DAYS newspaper. The report says that campaigners are asking Dubai’s Atlantis hotel to give out details about the recent release of ‘Sammy’, the female whale shark the hotel “rescued” 18-months ago.
“The Atlantis Fish Husbandry Team utilized their experience and skill to save the animal in compliance with all CITIES regulations when she was found off the coast in distress and has been preparing the animal for return to the ocean,” the hotel said in a statement on March 18, without giving further details or photos about her release.
But campaign group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals(PETA) is suspicious about Sammy’s fate.
“We are concerned about [Sammy’s] condition and hope Atlantis clarifies this soon,” 7DAYS quotes PETA’s Asia director Jason Baker as saying. “She has been imprisoned in an environment that could never compare to the vast ocean she was used to. Captivity creates a whole new set of health problems for whales and other marine mammals. Most captive whales and dolphins, even in the ‘best’ captive enclosures, never reach old age.”
The report also quotes a Dubai-based whale shark campaigner as saying that “the secrecy” surrounding the release prompts suspicion that the Atlantis “could not afford to have it die in their care”.
While Sammy has apparently been attached with a satellite tracking tag, it is not known who will have access to the data, aside from a marine lab in Florida.
Considering that The Atlantis is not exactly publicity shy – the hotel did, after all, put on a $20 million bash to celebrate its launch – it does seem slightly odd that they didn’t even take a picture to commemorate the ‘Free Willy’ moment when Sammy swam to freedom.
Despite the criticism the hotel has received in the past over Sammy’s capture, they could have made a genuinely positive PR campaign about her release. Why did they not do so? It seems only natural that suspicions have been raised.
Do you think that, far from being free, Sammy is (God forbid) dead or dying?