'Tonka' succumbed to bowel disorder: Ocean Adventure

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 18 2014 11:27 PM | Updated as of Sep 19 2014 07:27 AM

MANILA -- Ocean Adventure, a marine park in Subic, spoke about the recent death of Tonka, a false killer whale under its care.

In a statement released Thursday, Gail Laule, executive vice president of Ocean Adventure, explained that Tonka's death was caused by a medical condition common to false killer whales, whether they are in the wild or under human care.

"It was with the deepest sadness that Ocean Adventure announced the loss of Tonka, a beloved false killer whale, on Saturday, September 13. Despite the best medical efforts and 24 hour care, he succumbed to an inoperable bowel disorder common to false killer whales in the wild and those in human care," Laule said in the statement.

He said Tonka, which was rescued from the Japanese drive fishery in 1996, would have died as soon as he was rescued had it not been for them.

"At the time of Tonka’s rescue, as with all our animals, he had exactly one day to live. He went on to live another 18 years in human care."

Laule cited several studies that prove that cetaceans, such as dolphins, live as long in the wild as they would under human care, contrary to what animal rights groups claim.

"Many unsubstantiated claims are made by so called 'experts' regarding the life expectancy of cetaceans. A 40-year peer reviewed study of a protected wild population of 300 dolphins, showed that these animals have an average life span of 21.5 years. That is the current life expectancy of animals living in Ocean Adventure," Laule added.

He also explained that dolphins in Ocean Adventure live in an environment similar to their natural habitat.

"At Ocean Adventure Tonka lived in natural open water lagoons where he could dive deep, swim fast, and catch live fish. Living with other cetaceans, he enjoyed a rich social network critical to his well-being. The fence surrounding the lagoons is so low, all the animals could jump over it at any time."

"Tonka and his dolphin friends helped train thousands of government staff and other stakeholders in the rescue of stranded dolphins. His legacy will live on through the Dolphin Rescue Center at Ocean Adventure where 3 dolphins, victims of dynamite fishing, are currently being rehabilitated."

On Wednesday, members of the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) and the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) held a rally in front of the office of the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) in the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Quezon City to call for the suspension of the permit of Ocean Adventure in Subic.