Conservation Begins with Education

The island of Lembata, Flores, in Indonesia is known worldwide as the Island of Whale Hunters. Despite dolphins being a protected species, one village, Lamalera, is allowed to hunt under the International Whaling Commission (IWC) as the practice is supposedly conducted in a traditional manner. In reality, what is happening today is far from “tradition.” With a hunting season extending from May to the end of October, motorized boats are used on a daily basis to catch dolphins and other toothed whales, sea turtles, sharks and manta rays.

The village has all but closed its doors to any outside interference and thus stays unscathed and untouched by any governmental regulations.

Femke Den Haas explains the importance of marine conservation to school children in Lembata, Indonesia

Femke Den Haas explains the importance of marine conservation to school children in Lembata, Indonesia. Photo credit: Dolphin Project

Dolphin Project’s team, led by Indonesia Campaign Director and co-founder of the Jakarta Animal Aid Network, Femke Den Haas, began the first school visits on the island this past January. The mission was to create a positive educational program in the area, and our team has done just that with the creation of a puppet show road tour.

Lembata, Indonesia Puppet Show, explaining the importance of marine conservation.

Lembata, Indonesia Puppet Show, illustrating the importance of marine conservation. Photo credit: Dolphin Project


Lembata, Indonesia Puppet Show, explaining the importance of marine conservation.

Lembata, Indonesia Puppet Show, illustrating the importance of marine conservation. Photo credit: Dolphin Project

Since then, several schools have been visited. By promoting such eco-friendly activities as whale watching, local children in these fishing villages are explained the value of protecting the marine ecosystem. We have been able to convey the importance of conservation, not just for dolphins, but for all species affected by the rigorous hunts. Kids get it!

Kids get it! Photo credit: Dolphin Project

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About Femke den Haas

Femke works to protect Indonesia wildlife like dolphins and orangutans. I have been on the dolphin trail for more than 45 years campaigning worldwide trying to keep dolphins free from harm. In all of my travels I never came across a more dedicated and impressive grass-roots organization than JAAN. Their leader, Femke den Haas is the real deal – she is simply the best. – Ric O’Barry

Femke den Haas is a co-founder of the Jakarta Animal Aid Network, a small nonprofit started in 2008. She is originally from the Netherlands; the organisation’s members include a mix of foreign nationals and Indonesians.

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Femke works to protect Indonesia wildlife like dolphins and orangutans. I have been on the dolphin trail for more than 45 years campaigning worldwide trying to keep dolphins free from harm. In all of my travels I never came across a more dedicated and impressive grass-roots organization than JAAN. Their leader, Femke den Haas is the real deal – she is simply the best. – Ric O’Barry

Femke den Haas is a co-founder of the Jakarta Animal Aid Network, a small nonprofit started in 2008. She is originally from the Netherlands; the organisation’s members include a mix of foreign nationals and Indonesians.

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