Action Alert: Help the Suffering Dolphins in Indonesia
By Ric O’Barry
As unbelievable as it sounds, there are still dolphins being used in traveling circuses in Indonesia. Our rehabilitation facility, built by my son Lincoln O’Barry and I and designed to release these suffering animals back to their ocean home, stands empty to this day. We need your help to put a permanent stop to this abhorrent practice!
More than a year ago, working with our partners at the Jakarta Animal Aid Network (JAAN), Dolphin Project signed an agreement with the government of Indonesia to rehabilitate and release the dolphins from the circus and other commercial facilities. JAAN has identified more than 90 dolphins that have been caught illegally and are being kept in aquariums and a traveling circus.
The government has since reneged on the deal, likely due to pressures from the captivity industry.
The government, however, has a legal responsibility to abide by the deal, due to the fact that these dolphins were captured with permits stipulating that they were ‘rescues’, with the dolphins being kept on a temporary basis only. Many years later, it is plain to see that the industry has no intention of releasing these prized, revenue-generating dolphins. This direct transgression of Indonesian law demonstrates that the circus and commercial facility owners not only disregard their nation’s legal structures, but ethical ones as well. JAAN and Dolphin Project have recently initiated legal action against the government.
Traveling circus animals are among the worst treated on the face of the planet, which is what led China and other nations to recently ban the practice. Dolphins in traveling circuses suffer worse abuses than the rest, as you can see from this shocking video shot by my son Lincoln.
Based on our agreement with the government, and all on our own dime, we constructed a state-of-the-art rehabilitation facility, which has been sitting empty for over a year now. The government refuses to release the captive dolphins to us, likely bowing to pressure from the industry.
There is much you can do to help. Please sign and share this important petition and contact your local Indonesian Embassy, requesting the government to hold up their end of the agreement and release the captive dolphins to JAAN and the Dolphin Project, so we can rehabilitate and return them to the ocean where they belong. There is a global movement of people heading to Indonesian embassies around the world, to voice their concerns for the dolphins. Please consider organizing such an event at your local Indonesian embassy:
Call, FAX or E-mail the Indonesian Embassy in Washington DC:
The Hon. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President
Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia
Tel (202) 775 5200
Fax (202) 775 5365
Contact E-mail Form: http://www.embassyofindonesia.org/contactform/contact-form.php
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Ric O’Barry, Dolphin Project Founder & Director has worked on both sides of the captive dolphin issue, making him an invaluable asset in the efforts to end exploitation. He worked for 10 years within the dolphin captivity industry, and has spent the past 40 working against it.
In the 1960s, O’Barry was employed by the Miami Seaquarium, where he captured and trained dolphins, including the five dolphins who played the role of Flipper in the popular American TV-series of the same name. He also trained Hugo, the first orca kept in captivity east of the Mississippi. When Kathy, the dolphin who played Flipper most of the time, died in his arms, O’Barry realized that capturing dolphins and training them to perform silly tricks is simply wrong.
From that moment on, O’Barry knew what he must do with his life. On the first Earth Day, 1970, he launched a searing campaign against the multi-billion dollar dolphin captivity industry and has been going at it ever since.
Over the past 40 years, Ric O’Barry has rescued and rehabilitated dolphins in many countries around the world, including Haiti, Colombia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Brazil, the Bahamas Islands and the United States. He is a leading voice in the fight to end brutal dolphin hunts in Japan, the Solomon Islands, the Faroe Islands, and wherever else they occur.
O’Barry has been recognized by many national and international entities for his dedicated efforts, such as being voted Huffington Post’s 2010 Most Influential Green Game Changer, and being listed on O Magazine’s 2010 Power List – Men We Admire for his “Power of Passion.” O’Barry received an Environmental Achievement Award, presented by the United States Committee for the United Nations Environmental Program. He has done countless interviews with such prestigious news programs as Larry King Live, Anderson Cooper 360, the Mike Huckabee Show, and the Oprah Winfrey Show.
His book Behind the Dolphin Smile was published in 1989; a second book, To Free A Dolphin was published in September 2000. Both of them are about his work and dedication. He is the star of the Academy Award-winning documentary The Cove and the Animal Planet television series Blood Dolphin$.