Exploitation Not Education in Indonesia’s Traveling Dolphin Circuses
While Indonesia’s traveling dolphin shows continue to prey on innocent schoolchildren, the truth about these horrific operations continue to garner worldwide attention. Recently, Dolphin Project was interviewed by Channel News Asia in their investigation into claims that the circuses were educational and thus, could be justified by the government. But nothing could be further from the truth.
Everything that a dolphin does in captivity is for food. If you go to a traveling dolphin show and know what to look for, you’ll see food deprivation.” ~ Ric O’Barry, Founder/Director of Dolphin Project, as interviewed by Channel News Asia, 8/27/17
So what’s life like for these performing dolphins?
The dolphins are taken from the sea, ripped away from their families, and end up in chlorinated pools. Here they are trained by starvation. They learn to jump through hoops, play catch with plastic toys and perform other unnatural behaviors for a fish reward. Their teeth are filed down so they can’t accidentally bite a visitor.
The dolphins perform six times per day, and are only fed during showtimes. After one full month of performing, the dolphins are transported via truck to a new city, where they will fulfill another performing cycle. Travel can take upwards of 30 hours, and sometimes, ferries and airplanes are utilized to cross islands.
What these dolphins are doing goes against their natural behaviour. There is nothing educational. It is a show, pure entertainment for profits.” ~ Femke den Haas as interviewed by Channel News Asia, 8/27/17
Is this legal?
No. Not one single dolphin currently in captivity in Indonesia’s traveling circuses has been taken from the ocean legally. All were obtained without any permits and placed in captive facilities. After capture, temporary holding permits are given to the circus owners, until a long-term holding permit is obtained.
Who are running these operations?
Two companies – Wersut Seguni Indonesia (WSI) and Pembangunan Jaya Ancol (PJA) – run the traveling dolphin circuses. Conveniently, both are also licensed conservation agencies that also happen to own large amusement parks, where dolphins are held in captivity and forced to perform tricks, including swim with visitors.
What is being done for the dolphins?
Dolphin Project condemns the use of dolphins for entertainment, and is proposing to rehabilitate these mammals for eventual release. Together, along with the Jakarta Animal Aid Network (JAAN) we have constructed a sea pen and facility (Camp Lumba Lumba), where the dolphins would be rehabilitated and released back to the wild using Ric O’Barry’s protocol. Camp Lumba Lumba is the first permanent rehabilitation/release facility of its kind.
How you can help
Sign this petition to end traveling dolphin circuses in Indonesia.
- Exploitation Not Education in Indonesia’s Traveling Dolphin Circuses - August 27, 2017
- Update on Indonesia’s Toxic Traveling Circuses - April 9, 2017
- BREAKING: Balikpapan City Says NO to Dolphin Shows - February 22, 2017
- Be a Dolphin Warrior - February 6, 2017
- Paradise Lost: Dolphin Cruelty Issues Growing in Indonesia - January 15, 2017
- Conservation Begins with Education - March 23, 2016
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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