As the pioneer of rehabilitation and release for captive dolphins, Ric O’Barry has made it his life’s mission to establish dolphin sanctuaries, where captive dolphins who are deemed unfit candidates for release may retire to live the remainder of their lives in peace and freedom.
This is no small feat, as many factors must be considered: site location, access to a source of fish, pollution and temperature concerns, natural currents, protection from storms, as well as the legal regulations and negotiations.
In September 2019, BKSDA Bali Forestry Department in Bali, Indonesia and the Ministry of Forestry initiated the idea for a first ever permanent dolphin rehabilitation, release and retirement facility for formerly performing dolphins. Working with local partners Jakarta Animal Aid Network to supply the manpower and Dolphin Project to provide the financial support and supervision, the team built the Umah Lumba Rehabilitation, Release and Retirement Center in Banyuwedang Bay, West Bali – the first ever permanent dolphin rehabilitation, release and retirement facility for formerly performing dolphins. Rocky, Rambo and Johnny, three dolphins confiscated from the Melka Hotel from the same region currently reside here.
Dolphin Project is also evaluating locations in Europe, Southeast Asia, Japan, and other parts of the globe.