Bali: Our four rescued dolphins, Rocky, Rambo, Johnny and Dewa continue to thrive and rehabilitate in the world’s first permanent dolphin sanctuary in Banyuwedang Bay in West Bali, Indonesia. Never again will they have to perform tricks for dead fish, be enclosed in unnatural environments or be forced to interact with paying tourists. The transformation of Rocky, Rambo, Johnny and Dewa is an incredible, ongoing process. Here’s a brief update on the Bali four:
Rocky is the youngest dolphin currently residing at the Sanctuary. He has a great appetite and continues to be very active, exploring every corner of the sea pen. He enjoys diving deep, swimming belly-up and playing for hours with Rambo. He is in good health and is putting on weight – a far cry from the underweight dolphin we confiscated from the now-closed Melka Excelsior Hotel.
Rambo, another of our young, rescued dolphins is Rocky’s best friend. He is in good health, has a great appetite and boasts a beautiful set of strong teeth. He shows interest in everything and everyone, plays around the clock, chases fish and enjoys diving deep. He has made dramatic improvements since being freed from his previous confinement.
We have determined, based upon our ongoing medical examinations, that Johnny is between 20 and 30 years of age. While he enjoys playing and jumping, he isn’t eager to dive deep, unless our team is working on the seapen (and thus, he is curious to check out what’s happening). While he attempts to engage Dewa in play, Dewa prefers to play alone, leaving Johnny to do the same. As Johnny has no teeth, he needs extra care and attention during feedings. He also has chronic left fin damage due to an old wound which occurred at the Melka Excelsior Hotel.
Dewa is a very special dolphin, proving that captive dolphins can, and do, suffer from severe depression. In his previous confinement at the Melka Excelsior Hotel, Dewa engaged in self-harming behaviors. Dewa chooses to spend time by himself and while he avoids any kind of toys, he is very curious and has been observed carefully exploring the seapen. Despite also having no teeth, Dewa’s appetite has increased but he continues to require intensive care by our veterinary team.
On August 6, the Melka Excelsior Hotel in Lovina, north Bali was closed down. Following its closure, the four performing dolphins, Rocky, Rambo, Johnny and Dewa were confiscated from their deplorable conditions. On October 8, Dolphin Project, in conjunction with our local partners, the Central Jakarta Forestry Department and JAAN established the world’s first permanent dolphin sanctuary. The Bali Dolphin Sanctuary is the first of its kind in the world to care for formerly captive dolphins, with Rocky, Rambo, Johnny and Dewa the first dolphins to be brought here. Prior to the sanctuary being built, we constructed the world’s first permanent facility dedicated to the rehabilitation and release of dolphins in Kemujan, Karimun Jawa. Named Camp Lumba Lumba (lumba being the Indonesian word for dolphin), the rehabilitation center addresses the need for effective enforcement mechanisms of a law banning wild dolphin captures in Indonesia.
Featured image: Rocky and Rambo swim in the healing waters of the Bali Dolphin Sanctuary. Credit: Pepe Arcos
The Umah Lumba Rehabilitation, Release and Retirement Center and Camp Lumba Lumba Readaptation and Release Center form an incredible partnership with the Ministry of Environment and Forestry of the Republic of Indonesia, BKSDA Bali, Dolphin Project, Jakarta Animal Aid Network, Karimunjawa National Park and the West Bali National Park. Together, we built Umah Lumba, the world’s only permanent dolphin rehabilitation, release and retirement facility for previously captive dolphins and Camp Lumba Lumba, the world’s first permanent facility dedicated to the readaptation and release of dolphins in Kemujan, Karimun Jawa. Ric O’Barry, Founder/Director of Dolphin Project has pioneered readaptation for captive dolphins and has released a number of dolphins into the wild.