26 February 2013

Bali - Where are the dolphins?

After praising the forestry minister’s action for shutting down a dolphin attraction at Akame Dolphin Bay Restaurant in Denpasar, the Jakarta Animal Aid Network (JAAN) now criticized the slow reaction of the ministry in following up on its policy.

For the 10 days following the ministry’s announcement about closing the dolphin attraction, Akame Restaurant continued to hold its commercial dolphin shows, leading to a local protest at the site to question the commitment made to immediately release the dolphins to their rightful natural habitat.

On Saturday the two dolphins were transported to Wersut Seguni Indonesia (WSI) dolphin facility in Weleri, Central Java, by truck, the activists claimed. The Forestry Minister previously promised that the dolphins would be relocated to a dolphin rehabilitation center in Karimun Jawa, before being released into the wild. The dolphins are now currently on a truck, to be transported inhumanely for over 20 hours or more to be put in a condition even worse than that noted by the minister as being ‘cruel and unacceptable’. They are understood to be headed back to the original dolphin captivity center for the traveling circus in Weleri, Central Java. The owner of the travel show has its holding station there, and it is widely documented that this is where the dolphins were originally kept and sold to unlicensed commercial exploitation facilities around the country,” wildlife rescue and rehabilitation manager and founder of JAAN, Femke den Haas said.

Instead the dolphins should have been, as promised, transported by helicopter accompanied by the expert team that was arranged, who have been waiting voluntarily and patiently in Bali for more than 10 days, on a journey that would have taken only three hours and would have brought the animals home, to be nursed and released to their families and their natural environment, where they so rightfully belong. All the equipment and a helicopter had been prepared since the initial announcement. Groups and experts had been mobilized, flown in from around the world, and prepared in urgency to assist the minister with his admirable commitment to relocate the two dolphins to Karimun Jawa rehabilitation center.

The manager from Akame Dolphin Bay Restaurant denied that the two dolphins had been transported. “It’s not right. The two dolphins are still in the pool at Akame Restaurant,” said the man, who is also a senior trainer at the WSI. He said that he was still waiting for action by the ministry staff to transport the two dolphins. “But the two dolphins will likely be transported to Weleri, as the ministry has said that the rehabilitation center in Karimun Jawa is unfit,” he said.
To be continued..

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