Two manta rays that were newly-acquired by Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) have passed away.
According to The Straits Times, a source revealed that RWS lost the two endangered fish earlier this year; an irony to their recent announcement of Marine Life Park’s manta rays conservation project.
A Marine Life Park spokesman commented that the massive rays died while in quarantine, “despite the best efforts and round-the-clock care provided by the husbandry and veterinary teams.”
The aquarium’s three existing manta rays, which were exhibited since 2012, are doing well, the spokesman added.
The deaths of these giant rays are not Marine Life Park’s first losses— four of its 27 wild-caught bottlenose dolphins had lost their lives within the last four years.
Marine animals are quarantined before being displayed to ensure they are disease and parasite-free, and to help them adapt to the new environment.
Nonetheless, there are few aquariums in the world that house these ocean giants due to their sheer size, which can go up to 7m in width and more than two tonnes in weight.
Animal welfare activists have long spoken out against keeping large, wide-ranging animals in aquariums, especially those caught in the wild, as they do not fare well in captivity.
Mr Louis Ng, chief executive of advocacy group, Animal Concerns Research and Education Society, said the group is “saddened by the loss”.
“We are not against the park, if they keep species that are not as wide-ranging as dolphins and manta rays,” Ng added.