Environmentalists Urge Closing of Dolphin Park in Antigua
ST. JOHN'S, Antigua − Environmentalists urged Antigua's government Saturday to close a dolphin park, saying contamination could be harming nine dolphins and surrounding businesses.
The calls came after a week of rain that caused a salt pond to overflow and contaminate the water in the Dolphin Fantaseas park, said Martha Watkins-Gilkes, an official with the Antigua and Barbuda Independent Tourism Promotion Cooperation, a group that promotes environmentally responsible tourism.
Park officials used sand bags to stop the overflow, which caused a road to flood, she said. Nearby hotels and restaurant owners complained the flooding has hurt their businesses, she added.
"There is a major environmental problem that is directly related to the dolphin project which is causing severe flooding and major health problems," she said.
Under pressure from conservationists and animal rights activists, the government ordered the park closed in October, but the Mexican owners have appealed the decision to a three-member committee under the Town and Country Planning Department.
Watkins-Gilkes said her group wants the park, where visitors swim and play with the dolphins, closed pending the final decision.
Dolphin Fantaseas officials did not immediately return requests for comment.
Source: Associated Press