A LOCAL newspaper article of September 23 falsely credited the renamed oceanarium of Dolphin Marine Magic with establishing the rescue and rehabilitation centre for marine mammals, however it was achieved by the Pet Porpoise Pool which opened on Boxing Day 1970, designed to be supported by tourism with the aim of facilitating marine scientific research, and provide for the rescue and rehabilitation of stranded marine mammals.
Over the initial 34 years of operation by the original dedicated crew under myself (Hec), in cooperation with the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Wires, Orrca and Project Jonah, we helped thousands of injured or orphaned native wildlife species, attended hundreds of distressed animal call outs and saved and returned hundreds of animals to the wild, including marine mammals.
The Pet Porpoise Pool was taken over by current management in 2004 and has since been known as Dolphin Marine Magic, controlled mostly by a board of Victorians.
Whilst they try and coast on my former reputation, I take great offence at this and would like to set the record straight.
Firstly, the Pet Porpoise Pool not only rescued and rehabilitated marine mammals, numerous kangaroos, wallabies, koala bears, echidnas, reptiles and birds, we also played an essential role in the community, removing snakes from people's homes.
The Pet Porpoise Pool also played a huge role in Muttonbird Conservation, providing a depot at the oceanarium to ensure treatment was provided to facilitate the recovery and release of countless mutton birds stranded inland during their annual migration periods.
None of these activities were continued by Dolphin Marine Magic.
They delude the public by implying they continue to rescue distressed wildlife similar to the Pet Porpoise Pool and granted they still take in a number of stranded seals and turtles, but this occurs now only in a token fashion compared to the rescue, rehabilitation and release previously undertaken by the Pet Porpoise Pool.
The present management of Dolphin Marine Magic announced publicly they are no longer able to rescue cetaceans, resulting in a number of stranded dolphins having been euthanized on the beaches since 2004.
Secondly, the current opposition Dolphin Marine Magic faces from animal activists is not new.
The Pet Porpoise Pool company received strong opposition initially from misinformed animal liberation groups, however with the Pet Porpoise Pools' open door policy and complete transparency with such groups, we gained support from the RSPCA, Green peace and other animal welfare organisations, some officially recognising the Pet Porpoise Pool with the award of life membership.
However Dolphin Marine Magic has a closed door policy, banning activists from the park, banning marine veterinarians whom question their husbandry practices, banning young children, and banning people like myself (a 23% shareholder) whom question their integrity, from entering Dolphin Marine Magic. Dolphin Marine Magic are facing heavy campaigning from animal welfare groups including the RSPCA, Sea Shepherd Global, Australia For Dolphins, Australian Institute of Marine rescues, etc, which are working unitedly with the aim of closing the enterprise.
Dolphin Marine Magic has been under current management since 2004.
Prior to this I managed the popular park known as The Pet Porpoise Pool.
I MET Hec Goodall on my first day at PPP/DMM in early 2000 and had the honour of working with him for nearly four years until the day of his well-deserved retirement in October 2004.
Over the years I spent a lot of time with Hec on long road trips, through cold nights nursing rescued animals and hours helping to construct buildings and animal enclosures at the park.
I learnt a great deal from Hec, a deep love for our amazing animals, a passion for the environment and a strong work ethic by following his example.
I am also incredibly proud of the way DMM has grown since 2004 in testament to Hec's original vision and all the lessons he taught me.
Recently I saw an online letter by Hec and with all due respect to this great man, I would like to clear up some misinformation Hec has been given.
Firstly rescue, rehabilitation & release, conservation and education continue to be a very important part of what DMM does.
DMM continues to receive and release muttonbirds and many other types of marine animals with the expertise of an experienced onsite vet and rehab enclosures for turtles, seals and dolphins.
DMM holds the only licence to rehab dolphins onsite in NSW and has successfully rescued and release three dolphins in the last few years.
DMM also had the highest success in rehabilitating and releasing fur seals during the 'Seal Storm' disaster last year, breaking the PPP record of more than 20 years for the number seals in under rehab.
And of course DMM also rescues endangered sea turtles and continues to work closely with ORRCA, NPWS and other rescue organisations.
Recently DMM has been the focus of political lobbyist groups however these groups haven't always been openly truthful about their claims. For example, while DMM has been separately investigated since 2015 by the Department of Primary Industries, the RSPCA, the Zoo and Aquarium Association (ZAA) and the Veterinary Practitioners Board, each of these investigations has cleared DMM of any wrongdoing.
Also DMM was given national accreditation by ZAA in 2016 based on a positive welfare assessment of our animals while an independent vet conducting a health assessment found that all the dolphins were in "good health".
I am also unaware of any joint or "united" campaign against DMM from any of the organisations named, including the RSPCA.
Both I and the DMM vet are always open to calm and scientific conversation with anyone with concerns about the care of the animals at DMM however we are not open to talking to anyone who threatens physical assault or conducts cyberbullying/online harassment on any member of our team, as many individuals in these political groups already have.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to discuss DMM further.
Finally, my understanding is the PPP/DMM board, which includes Robin and Terry Goodall, Hec's brother and nephew, extends an open invitation to Hec to visit the PPP/DMM along with any young children he would like to bring along. And I'm sure all my team would love the opportunity to finally meet the man who, for many years, led the development of what is now one of the leading marine rescue and conservation centres in Australia.
Aaron Tolley, Manager of Life Sciences, DMM.