- Title: Bali hosts first centre to return captive dolphins to the wild
- Date: 8th July 2020
- Summary: RIBE, DENMARK (RECENT - JULY 2, 2020) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) FOUNDER OF DOLPHIN PROJECT, RIC O'BARRY, SAYING: "When I started doing this 50 years ago, people thought I was crazy. Dolphin captivity issue? That's not an issue. And so it took like 25 years just to make it an issue. And I remember standing in front of the Miami Seaquarium with a 'Free the dolphins' sign and people laughing at me. There was nobody else. There was no organization, no animal welfare working on this issue. It wasn't an issue. Today, it's a mainstream issue. Because of 'The Cove' movie - 'Blackfish'. And there are more films coming out like this, 'Blood Dolphins', my son had a TV series called 'Blood Dolphins' on DolphinProject.com for Animal Planet. So people become educated and they become activists. And there are hundreds of activists working on this issue now. I'm not alone anymore." BALI, INDONESIA (JULY 6, 2020) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF DOLPHINS SWIMMING
- Embargoed: 22nd July 2020 11:56
- Keywords: Indonesia dolphins environment wildlife
- Location: BALI, INDONESIA / RIBE, DENMARK / TAIJI, JAPAN
- City: BALI, INDONESIA / RIBE, DENMARK / TAIJI, JAPAN
- Country: Various
- Topics: Environment,Nature/Wildlife
- Reuters ID: LVA009CLY6JWN
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Just a year ago, Rambo the dolphin was confined to a shallow, chlorinated pool in an Indonesian hotel on the island of Bali entertaining visitors from around the world by jumping through hoops.
Now, the bottlenose dolphin, estimated to be about 15 years old, is swimming freely after being brought to what organisers say is the world's first permanent rehabilitation centre under a project initiated by Bali's government and animal rights groups.
"It's a model. It can be duplicated. And we're trying to do that in Europe as well, in Italy and in Crete," said Ric O'Barry, an animal activist and founder of the Dolphin Project, a charity that runs the centre.
With the help of Indonesian authorities, activists rescued four dolphins held at the Bali hotel last year and brought them to the centre in a bay on the tropical island for treatment. One died.
"There are hundreds of activists working on this issue now," said O'Barry who was featured in the Oscar-winning documentary "The Cove" about the capture and slaughter of dolphins in Japan.
More than 3,000 dolphins were in captivity in 336 entertainment venues around the world as part of an industry generating up to $5.5 billion annually, according to a 2019 report by World Animal Protection.
Returning dolphins to the wild depends on their health and capability to catch prey and interact with other dolphins. One problem, said Femke Den Haas, who runs the centre, is that dolphins often switch off their sonar in captivity.
"We aim to relocate them to their area that they know, where they grew up," she said.
The Bali government hopes to emulate the dolphin project to save other species so "our children and grandchildren, can appreciate the beauty (of these animals)," said Agus Budi Santosa, head of Bali's Natural Resources Conservation Agency.
For Barry, who in the past trained dolphins used in the TV series "Flipper" before his change of heart, opening the sanctuary in Bali is another step on his goal to end captivity.
"There are hundreds of activists working on this issue now. When I started doing this 50 years ago, people thought I was crazy."
(Production: Sultan Anshori, Sarah Mills, Angie Teo)
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