Umah Lumba Rehabilitation, Release and Retirement Center

Umah Lumba Center aerial view - dolphin rescue and turtle hospital

Rehabilitation, Release and Retirement for Ex-Show Dolphins

The Umah Lumba Rehabilitation, Release and Retirement Center in Banyuwedang Bay, West Bali, Indonesia is the first and only permanent dolphin rehabilitation, release and retirement facility for formerly performing dolphins. In September 2019, BKSDA Bali Forestry Department and the Ministry of Forestry initiated the idea. Working with local partners Jakarta Animal Aid Network to supply the manpower and Dolphin Project to provide the financial support and supervision, the Umah Lumba Center was built. (“Umah Lumba” means “dolphin house” in Balinese.)

Caring for Rescued Dolphins

The facility is designed to stabilize recently confiscated dolphins from captive facilities, or stranded or injured dolphins, return them back to health and to assess whether they are candidates for readaptation and release.

For dolphins deemed releasable, they will be taken to Camp Lumba Lumba Readaptation and Release Center in Karimun Jawa, the world’s first permanent facility dedicated to the rehabilitation and release of dolphins. The mammals will then be prepared for return into their home range. The location was specifically chosen because the majority of dolphins were captured from the Karimunjawa National Park, and releasing them here would offer a good chance for the mammals to reunite with their family pods.

For dolphins deemed unreleasable, they can retire at the Umah Lumba Center in a safe and healing seapen, and live out the rest of their lives in peace and dignity.

Rescued dolphins will receive 24/7 round-the-clock care. We have a full-time staff veterinarian, security guards and caregivers. The center is a true rehabilitation, release and retirement facility, where our team is committed to making the dolphins’ lives as natural and independent as possible. In March 2020, Dolphin Project, in anticipation of the arrival of additional confiscated dolphins (due to the COVID-19 pandemic) tripled the size of our facility.

As the world’s first permanent dolphin rehabilitation, release and retirement facility in the world, the Umah Lumba Center must be a model of success. Ideally, it will act as a prototype for others to be built globally, as demand for captive dolphins wane.

Dolphin Rehabilitation and Release Cases

Rambo and Rocky are two of the dolphins rescued from the Melka Excelsior Hotel in Bali, where, for many years, they were made to perform in small concrete pools. This confinement took a heavy toll on their well-being. At Umah Lumba Center, they regained strength and weight, healing in the natural, saltwater currents of the bay. Through rehabilitation, they re-learned to catch live prey through live fish feedings. On September 3, 2022 the gates at the Umah Lumba Center were opened, offering the dolphin the choice of freedom- and they took it.
Rambo and Rocky have now returned to open waters. Post-release, our work is intensive: from tracking and monitoring the dolphins by boat, preparation for future rescues, ongoing maintenance of the Umah Lumba Center, and community outreach efforts, campaign costs are significant.
Your symbolic adoption of a dolphin will help offset their post-release expenses. In addition, your support will help ensure that the Umah Lumba Center remains open for other dolphins for years to come!
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Turtle Hospital

While our main focus at the Umah Lumba Center is on dolphin rehabilitation and re-release, Dolphin Project is pleased to be able to provide medical aid and rehabilitation for turtles, including endangered and critically endangered species. Our on-the-ground team in Indonesia is equipped to respond to calls of injured or distressed turtles. At the Umah Lumba Center, the turtles may receive assessment and treatment, and when deemed healthy enough, be released back into their native waters. We also have a handful of turtle patients that require long term care.

Turtle Rescue by Species

  • Rescuing, treating and releasing Green sea turtles (endangered)
  • Rescuing, treating and relocating Hawksbill turtles (critically endangered)
  • Rescuing and caring for Brazilian red cheeked turtles (a species not native to Indonesia).
  • Rescuing, treating and releasing Olive ridley turtles (vulnerable)

Photos from Sea Turtle Releases

In most cases, turtles we respond to are healthy enough for release back into their native waters after health assessment, or short term treatment. Here are a few looks at turtle releases!

Bobby the green sea turtle released back into the ocean

Bobby the green sea turtle released back to the ocean.

Gugun the Olive Ridley turtle released back into the ocean.

Gugun the Olive Ridley turtle released back to sea.

Release of green sea turtles, in collaboration with West Bali National Park and Bksda Bali. We were able to treat and release the these turtles which were confiscated from an illegal wildlife trade.

Release of green sea turtles, in collaboration with West Bali National Park and Bksda Bali. We were able to treat and release the these turtles which were confiscated from an illegal wildlife trade.

Release of green sea turtles, in collaboration with West Bali National Park and Bksda Bali. We were able to treat and release the these turtles which were confiscated from an illegal wildlife trade.

Release of green sea turtles, in collaboration with West Bali National Park and Bksda Bali. We were able to treat and release the these turtles which were confiscated from an illegal wildlife trade.

Release of green sea turtles, in collaboration with West Bali National Park and Bksda Bali. We were able to treat and release the these turtles which were confiscated from an illegal wildlife trade.

turtle hospital
Tree planting

Wildlife Aid, Education Center, Tree Planting and More!

The Dolphin Project Team in Indonesia is engaged in community outreach not only to help dolphins, but also to help local people and animals. Our efforts range from:

  • Operating a free school, the Umah Lumba Education Center
  • Local wildlife aid
  • Operating a No-Cost Veterinary Clinic
  • Marine mammal stranding response, and more!

Monkey Rescue, Rehabilitation and Release

At the Umah Lumba center, we aid many local animals. One of which we see many cases of is the the Long-Tailed Macaque (Macaca fascicularis)- an endangered species. These monkeys face threats from the pet trade, and from captive exploitation- they are captured and made to perform wearing “doll clothes.”

After rescue, the monkeys often arrive in a terrible state- many of them are underweight, have broken tails, injuries from chains or are sick. The recovery and rehabilitation process usually takes one year.

Our team rescues a monkey once held as a pet, Bali, Indonesia.

Our team rescues a monkey once held as a pet, Bali, Indonesia. Credit: DolphinProject.com

Our team spends months exploring nature to find suitable release sites, and in recent years we were able to release dozens of monkeys in protected forest areas!

Tree Planting Campaign

In efforts to be 100% carbon neutral and to help protect the coastline and marine ecosystem in West Bali, to-date our Dolphin Project team in Indonesia has planted over 27,000 mangrove seedlings and coconut trees.

  • 2020: 5,000 trees planted
  • 2021: 6,200 trees planted
  • 2022: 10,000 trees planted
  • 2023: 6,500 trees planted

Support the Umah Lumba Center

Rambo and Rocky have now returned to open waters. As the first facility of its kind, it is vital to maintain the Umah Lumba Center in preparation for future dolphin and turtle rescues. With the ongoing maintenance of the Center and community outreach efforts, campaign costs are significant.
Your symbolic adoption will help offset these expenses. In addition, your support will help ensure that the Umah Lumba Center remains open for other dolphins and turtles for years to come!
ADOPT A DOLPHIN
Rambo resized - Adopt a Dolphin

With a recommended minimum donation of $25, you’ll get a personalized adoption e-certificate, and a downloadable adoption package. Your adoption will support the Center for potential future dolphin rescues, classes at our local education center and other community campaigns in Bali!

ADOPT A TURTLE
Adopt a Turtle - Coco

With a recommended minimum donation of $25, you’ll get a personalized adoption e-certificate, and a downloadable adoption package. Your adoption will help support veterinary care, field costs for turtle rescue and release, and ongoing maintenance of the Umah Lumba Center.

ADOPT A MONKEY

With a recommended minimum donation of $25, you’ll get a personalized adoption e-certificate, and a downloadable adoption package. Your adoption will support rescue, recovery and rehabilitation, and release for long-tailed macaques in Indonesia. 

PLANT A TREE
Plant a tree in Bali

Support our Bali tree planting campaign by symbolically planting a tree! A $5 donation will plant 1 tree, plant 5 trees for a $20 donation or more! To-date our Dolphin Project team in Indonesia has planted over 20,000 mangrove seedlings and coconut trees.

All symbolic animal adoptions will receive a personalized e-certificate, and digital adoption package. Be sure to let us know the recipient’s name if your adoption is a gift!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between the Umah Lumba Center and Camp Lumba Lumba?

Bali, Indonesia is the location we chose for The Umah Lumba Rehabilitation, Release and Retirement Center – the world’s first permanent dolphin rehabilitation, release and retirement facility for formerly captive dolphins. The facility is designed to stabilize the mammals, return them back to health and to assess whether they are candidates for readaptation and release.

In Karimun Jawa, is Camp Lumba Lumba – the world’s first permanent facility dedicated to the rehabilitation and release of dolphins. For dolphins deemed releasable, they will be taken here and prepared and returned into their home range.

For dolphins deemed unreleasable, they can retire at the Umah Lumba Center in a safe and healing seapen, and live out the rest of their lives in peace and dignity.

How can I help?

 

Can I visit or volunteer at the Umah Lumba Center?

We’re not able to accept any volunteers at this time. We do have other volunteer opportunities though!

How big or deep are the facility sea pens?

The facility sea pens are about 15 meters (50 feet) deep. These pens are some of the largest in the world and being situated in calm, natural seawater, boast a variety of fish, squid, crustaceans and other sea life. The size, depth and biological diversity offer a rich and stimulating environment for formerly captive dolphins!

Why don't the dolphins eat the fish in the sea pens?

During their time in captivity, the dolphins were conditioned to believe that their only food source came from humans. It takes time and rehabilitation for them to re-learn how to forage on their own. Having our facility staff directly give the dolphins live fish is a vital step in assessing whether they are candidates for release.

How can I help?

There are many ways to help support the Umah Lumba Center, including sharing posts about the facility, starting a fundraiser through Facebook or Crowdrise, and adopting a rescued dolphin.

SUPPORT THE UMAH LUMBA REHABILITATION, RELEASE AND RETIREMENT CENTER

Remembering Johnny

Johnny, Umah Lumba Center, Bali, Indonesia

Captured in the Java Sea, Johnny was carted from town to town, and forced to perform in a plastic pool in Indonesia’s traveling circus. His next stop was a heavily chlorinated swimming pool in the Melka Excelsior Hotel in North Bali, where, for many years, this older dolphin was held in isolation. When Johnny was rescued, his condition was deplorable from years of abuse and neglect. At Umah Lumba, he regained his strength and weight. He played, dove and ate his fill under the sun and stars, slowly healing in the natural, saltwater currents of the bay. We are so grateful we had the opportunity to make the last few years of his life peaceful with round-the-clock care that prioritized his well-being, not that of the paying customers he had to cater to for most of his life. In November 2022, Johnny succumbed to a respiratory illness.

 

Remembering Dewa

DewaCaptured in the Java Sea, Dewa was an older dolphin who was severely affected by the trauma he suffered during his confinement at the Melka Excelsior Hotel in North Bali. There, he spent years confined in the hotel’s shallow, heavily chlorinated swimming pool, exploited in a commercial dolphin-assisted therapy program for people with paralysis and other disabilities. Our rescue team transferred Dewa from the swimming pool to our facility on October 8, 2019. Since we introduced Dewa to natural sea water, his condition improved but he was still plagued with several health problems including chronic pneumonia. Sadly, Dewa succumbed to his longstanding illness and took his last breath on March 11, 2020.

 

 

Remembering Gombloh

Gombloh dolphin MelkaGombloh was captured in the Java Sea and, sadly, did not survive his encounter with humans. Gombloh died at the Melka Excelsior Hotel in North Bali on August 3, 2019, just two days before our team was able to rescue Gombloh’s beloved companion Rambo. We are happy we arrived at the hotel in time to rescue Rambo, Rocky, Dewa, and Johnny from the shallow and heavily chlorinated swimming pools, but at the same time heartbroken that we got there too late to get Gombloh out of there. We will always remember Gombloh, who is one of countless dolphins to have fallen victim to consumers’ demand to watch dolphins perform and to swim with them.

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.

Bali Dolphin Sanctuary Partners

Ric O'Barry's Dolphin Project is registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and all donations are tax-deductible as authorized by law. IRS 990s: 2022 2021 2020

© 2024 Ric O'Barry's Dolphin Project. All Rights Reserved.


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