28th October 2015

    Questions without notice.


    The Hon. MARK PEARSON: My question without notice is directed to the Minister for Primary Industries, and Minister for Lands and Water. On 16 September in answer to my question about the welfare of dolphins at Dolphin Marine Magic, the Minister stated that the department had conducted compliance activities. Did this review include specific investigations and analysis by a cetacean expert observing the dolphins for stereotypic aberrant behaviours and abnormalities associated with inbreeding? If not, will he direct the department to conduct such a review, to be undertaken by a scientist with expertise in cetacean behaviour and make that report available to the House?

    The Hon. NIALL BLAIR: I thank the member for his question. As he alluded to in his question, I have answered questions on this matter previously. I inform the House of some details of which I am aware. I have been advised that the exhibition of animals at Dolphin Marine Magic is regulated by the Department of Primary Industries under the Exhibited Animals Protection Act 1986. An animal welfare organisation has made a formal complaint previously to the department about that facility, alleging that Dolphin Marine Magic is non-compliant with the standards for dolphin management. It also has been reported in the media.

    The incident has been investigated and the department has been working with Dolphin Marine Magic on the issue. It has informed me that after a number of independent surveys the pool used to house the six dolphins exceeds the 1,700 cubic metres required as set out in the relevant standards. I have been advised that the relevant standards have been met at Dolphin Marine Magic and the department continues to have ongoing conversations with organisations such as Dolphin Marine Magic. The Department of Primary Industries keeps in regular contact with organisations that are regulated by the Exhibited Animals Protection Act 1986. If there are any updates under that Act, I am sure that I will be advised in due course and I can then inform the House.

    The Hon. MARK PEARSON: I ask a supplementary question. Will the Minister elucidate his answer on the specifics of the question, not the volume of water per dolphin, but the aberrant stereotypic behaviours of the dolphins and also abnormalities associated with inbreeding?

    The Hon. NIALL BLAIR: In my answer I was directly referring to the standards of the Department of Primary Industries by which the facility is regulated. I am happy to take the question on notice and return with an answer.

    To date (4th February 2018) no answer has been provided.

    10th May 2016

    Questions without notice.


    The Hon. MARK PEARSON (16:47): My question is directed to the Minister for Primary Industries. In an SBS article published on 5 May Dolphin Marine Magic did not deny the assertion that the dolphin calf Ji‑Ling had swallowed debris, including metal, resulting in a stomach ulcer. It was also stated that Ji-Ling died of a heart attack when a non-veterinary staff member attempted to remove the debris by reaching their hand into Ji‑Ling’s stomach. Can the Minister confirm: first, that this is an accurate description of events; secondly, that the metal object was either a watch, coin or an item of jewellery; third, that Department of Primary Industries investigators found no breach of clause 3.4.1 of the Standards for Exhibiting Bottle-nosed Dolphins; and, fourth, that there was a veterinarian with cetacean expertise on the site at the time?

    The Hon. NIALL BLAIR (Minister for Primary Industries, and Minister for Lands and Water) (16:48): We have spoken about Dolphin Marine Magic and the unfortunate death of the dolphin Ji-Ling previously in this House. I am advised that the dolphin died at Dolphin Marine Magic on 7 October 2015. The dolphin was closely monitored by an expert veterinary professional, which I believe was part of the question. Dolphin Marine Magic has provided the results of the post-mortem examination to the department, which indicates the dolphin died due to complications from a condition for which it was receiving veterinary treatment.

    Dolphin Marine Magic has informed the department of concerns that ingestion of leaves falling into the dolphin pool may have contributed to the condition and has taken measures to eliminate this risk. That is the latest advice I have received, and it is consistent with the advice that I have provided to the House previously.

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