In October 2010 a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Jakarta Animal Aid Network (JAAN), Ric O'Barry's Dolphin Project and the Indonesian minister for Forestry Mr. Zulkifli Hasan, to rehabilitate and release the captive dolphins of Indonesia, a country which is now the world's last bastion of highly exploitative dolphin "travelling circuses".
A purpose built sea-pen rehabilitation facility was established in readiness, but remains unused to this day. It is highly likely that pressure from the captive dolphin industry has stalled efforts to carry out the agreed retreival of captive dolphins and has prevented government ministries from fulfilling their pledge.
In a recent development, two male bottlenose dolphins displayed in inadequate conditions at the Akame Restaurant in Benoa Harbour, Bali were removed clandestinely on 23rd February to prevent their agreed release to JAAN and Dolphin Project for rehabilitation.
Please add your voice to this petition and help us to bring pressure to bear on the Indonesian Minister of Forestry to honour his agreement to work with JAAN and the Dolphin Project to facilitate the rehabilitation and release of Indonesia’s exploited captive dolphins to their rightful home in the wild.
The Freedom Blue organisation speaks on behalf of an international collective of concerned individuals and groups involved in marine conservation and the welfare and rights of cetaceans worldwide. We hail from many diverse nations, but we each share the common goal of promoting the cause of whale and dolphin conservation and protection, and supporting measures to further this cause worldwide.
As representative of the Indonesian government, the action of the honorable Minister for Forestry in committing to a Memorandum of Understanding between JAAN, the Dolphin Project and the Forestry Department in October 2010 to rehabilitate Indonesia’s illegal captive dolphins was welcomed warmly and fully supported by the international conservation community.
We have watched with interest the developments leading up to the proposed release of two dolphins held inside the Akame restaurant complex in Bali. When you acknowledged that the dolphins were being kept and commercially exploited illegally, and that you would ensure the facility was closed down and the dolphins delivered immediately to a purpose-built rehabilitation center for release back into their natural habitat, Indonesia became a focus of international attention from conservation groups and likeminded individuals.
As you can imagine, the subsequent news that these endangered dolphins had been covertly removed on the 23rd February soon spread internationally; we are all equally appalled and concerned at this development.
A further concern that we harbour is that tourism into Indonesia may well be adversely affected by this recent turn of events, given the attention that the “kidnapping” of the two subject dolphins has been given in the international media. Many people who had been previously unaware of dolphin captivity and the existence of “dolphin circuses” in Indonesia are now learning of this situation, and the risk of backlash in the form of reduced tourism numbers may well become a real and unwelcome result.
Accordingly, we the undersigned write to offer our support in your actions to locate and regain ownership of the two dolphins so that JAAN may proceed with the rehabilitation and release program as planned.
More importantly we enjoin you to maintain and honour Indonesia’s stated commitment to the goal of rehabilitation and release of Indonesia’s captive dolphins. We support Mr. Zulkifli Hasan’s announcement that Government Regulation (PP) No. 8/1999 needs to be amended and we strongly urge him to act upon his statements and deliver the remaining dolphins held by travelling circuses to JAAN to facilitate their rehabilitation and release back into their natural environment.
Freedom Blue organisation, on behalf of the undersigned.