Letter on behalf of suffering Bali dolphins

Jul 07, 2015 by afdadmin
One of the dolphins trapped in the Bali Wake resort pool - suffering a clearly inflamed skin issue.

One of the dolphins trapped in the Bali Wake resort pool with an inflamed underbelly – a consequence of over chlorination.

You may have read in the news over the last few days about an Australian surfer’s attempts to help four suffering dolphins, trapped in a tiny, highly-chlorinated pool in a seaside resort in Indonesia.

The dolphins at Wake Bali Dolphins are clearly suffering from eye and skin problems, and are stuck in a pool that is far too small, while tourists pay to ride and pet them.

It is a terrible situation, BUT, there is a very simple thing you can do to help.

Please, use your voice to write a short email to the Minister of Forestry, Dr. Siti Nurbaya Bakar, asking her to release the dolphins to an empty dolphin rehabilitation sea pen in nearby Karimunjawa. Email: [email protected] Make sure you CC in the Indonesian Embassy in Australia, E: [email protected], to make sure the message gets through.

It is unbelievable that these dolphins are being kept in such poor conditions without any support from the government responsible for overseeing their welfare. The good news, however, is that there is a fully functional dolphin rehab sanctuary in Indonesia, and it is going unused!

Please take a minute to read the open letter AFD’s Advocacy Director, Jordan Sosnowski has written, urging the government to release these dolphins to the under utilised sea sanctuary, and consider writing one yourself.

Your voice could make all the difference for these four suffering dolphins.

Australia for Dolphin’s open letter on behalf of suffering Bali dolphins

Dear Dr. Siti Nurbaya Bakar, Minister of Forestry Department and Environment,

Re: Dolphin protection in Indonesia

I am writing from a not for profit organisation called Australia for Dolphins (‘AFD’). AFD is a cetacean protection organisation that works globally to protect dolphins from cruelty.

It has come to our attention that despite dolphin hunting being illegal under Indonesian law, many dolphins are still being hunted in the Java Sea. Many of the hunters that capture the dolphins take advantage of a loophole whereby they argue the dolphins are “rescued”. The dolphins are sold to circuses, which travel from town to town, carting makeshift pools as well as the animals on the back of trucks.

There is also a facility in Keramas called “Wake Bali Dolphins”, where captured dolphins are kept in a tiny chlorinated pool and forced to swim with tourists. It is clear from photo evidence that the dolphins are suffering from eye and skin problems due to the high level of chlorine in the pool. Additionally, the size of the pool is concerning and does not meet even minimum animal welfare standards.

A recent petition on change.org in relation to the Wake Bali dolphin facility has gathered over 30,000 signatures from caring people who wish to see the dolphins rehabilitated and released. We strongly urge you to consider this request.

It has been reported that the dolphins at Bali Wake resort are going blind, due to the high level of chlorine used in the tiny pools.

It has been reported that the dolphins at Bali Wake resort are going blind, due to the high level of chlorine used in the tiny pools.

Captive dolphins suffer from significant stress due to their unnatural environment and many of them die as a result of the horrific conditions. Dolphins are highly intelligent, migratory animals that travel vast distances in the wild. Renowned dolphin expert and neuroscientist Lori Marino has stated that “the scientific literature is absolutely clear on this issue: stress and its associated health problems are a recognised concern for captive dolphins.  There is an abundant literature showing that stress in captive wildlife is a source of aberrant behavior, hyperaggressiveness, illness and mortality.”

Studies have also demonstrated that stress arises in captivity as a result of the awkward social groupings that dolphins are placed in. In the wild, conflict is often resolved through shifting relationships with other pod members and other pods. In captivity, the social grouping cannot be fluid and dynamic because dolphins do not have a choice in relation to who they associate with. These factors can also lead to stress and shortened life expectancy.

Many of the dolphins captured in the Java Sea that end up in travelling dolphin circuses and the Wake Bali attraction are likely the same dolphins that travel in Australian waters.  As such, we have a vested interest in ensuring their protection from illegal and cruel hunts, as well as suffering in captivity.

It is our understanding that a Memorandum of Understanding (‘MoU’) was entered into in 2010 between the Indonesian National Forestry Department and the Jakarta Animal Aid Network (‘JAAN’). In this MoU, it was agreed between the two parties that the dolphins currently in captivity and in the travelling dolphin circuses would be relocated to an ocean sea pen.

The ocean sea pen has since been built in Java’s Karimunjawa National Park, yet remains empty. We strongly urge you to follow through on the Ministry’s promise and move the dolphins to the sea pen as a matter of urgency.

Dolphin rehab pens Indonesia

An empty dolphin rehabilitation sea pen in nearby Karimunjawa, which has been open but unused for two years. Source: Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project

We also respectfully ask that you reconsider issuing permits for “rehabilitation” purposes when clearly the system is being abused by those who seek to profit by selling captured dolphins.

Thank you for considering this information and I look forward to receiving your response on this issue as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely,

Jordan Signature

Jordan Sosnowski

Advocacy Director, Australia for Dolphins