‘It’s very exciting. It’s the first dolphin sanctuary anywhere in the world and a model that can be duplicated’
Bali has opened the world’s first permanent rehabilitation centre for dolphins under a project initiated by Indonesian authorities in collaboration with animal activists.
Ric O’Barry, an animal activist and founder of The Dolphin Project is in charge of the Bali Dolphin Sanctuary, which he hopes will set a precedent for more sanctuaries around the world.
“Well, it’s very exciting. It’s been 50 years in the making. It’s the first dolphin sanctuary anywhere in the world. And it’s a model, it can be duplicated. We’re trying to do that in Europe as well, in Italy and in Crete.”
The Bali Dolphin Sanctuary is a purpose-built facility is designed as a refuge for formerly captive dolphins, and to assess whether they are candidates for readaptation and release into their home range. Learn more at https://t.co/Al7ES0meTh#DolphinProject #FreeBaliDolphins pic.twitter.com/XTcXodyUvz— Dolphin Project (@Dolphin_Project) July 7, 2020
In 2019, with the help of Indonesian authorities, animal rights activists rescued four dolphins stuck in captivity and transported them to the rehabilitation centre.
The centre is tending to the rescued dolphins and will release them in the wild depending on their ability to catch food, interaction with other dolphins and their overall health.
Dolphins use sonar to navigate in the ocean and also to communicate with each other.
Femke Den Haas, who runs the rehabilitation centre said: “Often they switch off the sonar when they are kept in captivity, so that’s one of the main tasks of the team here to prepare them for their life in the wild.”
Sonar also known as echolocation is a sound system used by dolphins to navigate in the ocean and communicate with each other.
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Sanctuaries have been put in place for other animals who are cruelly used in tourism and entertainment like elephants and big cats. Our hope is that, with more sanctuaries, captive dolphins who are unable to be released will have a place to retire and live out their lives without having to perform or interact with paying customers. Learn more by clicking the link in our bio! #DolphinProject #bksdabali #JAAN
80-year-old O’Barry, who in the past trained dolphins for the TV series Flipper before starting the Dolphin project in 1970, said: “It’s more stressful for dolphins in captivity than any other animal we’ll see at the zoo” and for him opening the Bali sanctuary is another step towards his goal to end captivity.
“There are hundreds of activists working on this issue now. When I started doing this 50 years ago, people thought I was crazy,” he added.
According to a 2019 report by World Animal Protection, more than 3,000 dolphins are in captivity around the world as part of an entertainment industry valued at USD 5.5 billion annually.
Speaking on the impact of sanctuaries on the industry, the octogenarian explained: “The captivity industry, it’s a multi-billion-dollar industry. They don’t want sanctuaries to happen,”
“Sanctuaries make them look bad because their dolphins are all in stadiums.
“So you have to get cooperation from the government, for one thing. And we have that in Indonesia.”
- Read: ‘Visionary designers’ create life-like Robotic Dolphin that can replace animals in cruel marine parks
Share this story to support the efforts of the Bali Dolphin Sanctuary.
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