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Universities deny dolphin park’s claims of joint research

November 12, 2015 by The Australian  

The Australian

The University of Western Sydney and Charles Sturt ­University, which appear on Dolphin Marine Magic’s conser­vation research page spruiking the green credentials of the park where a dolphin died last month, say they did not take part in any research.

On its website, the Coffs ­Harbour-based park, where a ­dolphin died last month, says: “There are a number of ongoing research projects at Dolphin Marine Magic that are helping us tobetter understand the marine environment. ”

A spokesman for UWS, which is listed as being­ ­involved in two projects, said: “There’s been no ­official research with them. We’ve gone through all the records as far back as we can possibly go — we’ve not, as far as we can determine, ever signed an official project with Dolphin Marine Magic.”

A third-year animal science student had run a student project with the park several years ago, but that was not considered to be joint research.

A CSU spokeswoman said despite being listed as working on research with DMM, it was “never under the CSU banner”.

A spokeswoman for the University of NSW said a researcher, now based in the US, could have worked with DMM between 2008 and 2011 but there “is no reference to that dolphin centre in her paper”.

A Southern Cross University spokeswoman said a marine ­turtle project listed twice “was an honours project now completed”, while “the dolphin vocalisation was a research project undertaken and completed for a masters (degree) by a coursework student”. A Sydney University spokeswoman said the project for which it was listed had been conducted by a “vet graduate from USyd some years ago”.

The questions around the dolphin park’s “ongoing research projects” are the latest in a string of controversies.

The death of two-year-old dolphin Ji-Ling followed a DPI inquiry that found, without any evidence, the parks’ pool was big enough for six dolphins, despite The Australian revealing that the park’s original owner, the pool’s architect and even DMM’s old minutes said otherwise.

When asked about DMM’s ­research and the cause of the ­dolphin’s death, a spokesman for Primary ­Industries Minister Niall Blair said: “Please refer your ­inquiry to Dolphin Marine Magic.”

DMM did not respond to the inquiry.

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