After a decade of relentless campaigning against Indonesia’s traveling dolphin circus, the world’s cruelest dolphin show has been shut down.
Effective February 5, 2020 the Ministry of Environment and Forestry in Indonesia has chosen not to renew the permits of the traveling dolphin circus. Wersut Seguni Indonesia, the company responsible for the endless suffering and trade in wild dolphins for the purposes of supplying dolphins for traveling “entertainment” will finally have to close their traveling circus tents.
The dolphins recruited for the traveling circuses were transported from village to village, from city to city, for a period of four weeks at each location. Dolphin Project’s Indonesian team documented their travels and obtained footage of dolphins spending up to three days in coffin-like boxes, trucked through Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Java.
The mammals were forced to perform in small, highly-chlorinated pools, the added chemicals so strong they burn the patrons’ eyes, let alone the dolphins swimming in them. Five times each day the dolphins performed to the amusement of the public, being fed only small pieces of fish during showtime to keep them hungry and willing to entertain. From jumping through hoops, to “dancing” to high-volume music, these routines are repeated over and over.
A decade of campaigning
Since 2009 when the traveling dolphin show first started, Dolphin Project’s Indonesian team has worked tirelessly, sending petitions, coordinating protests, attending numerous meetings, lobbying the government and engaging in comprehensive field research.
Dolphin Project also launched a major campaign in Indonesia to close these exploitative operations, including a graffiti & mural art initiative, electronic billboards throughout Indonesia, digital ads at the Bali airport and a traveling educational puppet show.
The current decision makers at the Ministry of Environment and Forestry have completely turned things around, putting ethics over profits. And as such, the traveling dolphin circus will go down in history as one of the most abusive dolphin shows ever run.
While the traveling dolphin circus is no longer allowed to operate, Wersut Seguni Indonesia is still able to continue with dolphin performances at their permanent facility in Central Java. It is our understanding that between 20-30 dolphins are being held in captivity.
Dolphin Project’s Indonesian team will continue to monitor this situation to ensure that no dolphins are carted from town to town again. We will remain vigilant and ensure the law is being upheld. Dolphin Project will also continue to campaign to readapt Indonesia’s remaining captive dolphins and release those that are suitable candidates.