Free four wild dolphins contained in a tiny resort pool.
Australian surfer and professional surf forecaster, Craig Brokensha is on a mission to save four dolphins trapped in a small chlorinated pool in Bali. The dolphins are a tourism attraction for Wake Bali Adventure resort who charge adults $US110 ($147) and children $US100 ($136) for 45 minutes with the dolphins. The resort is located on the east side of Bali, nearby world-class wave Keramas, the venue for the 2013 Oakley Pro. On a recent trip to Bali Craig was shocked to witness the treatment of the animals and has started a petition to pressure the resort and Indonesian government to put an end to the practice. If freed the dolphins will need to be rehabilitated before they can go back to their natural environment. Craig caught up with Tracks to tell us what we can do to put an end to this shameful tourist attraction.
Tell me about the situation at Wake Bali Adventure resort.
Situated right atop the sand dune at Keramas Beach is a resort with a deep but small swimming pool, housing four juvenile dolphins in chlorinated water.
What was your initial reaction when you saw the conditions the dolphins were in?
I was surfing a break called Carparks out the front of the resort, and heard these constant whistles. I though it was volleyball or soccer training, and asked a local Indonesian kid what was going on up there. He said dolphin, and when I looked back, on the next whistle, the dolphins were jumping for tourists.
I couldn't believe it and walked up to see them after the surf and was shocked. These poor dolphins were just metres from the ocean, but trapped in a tiny pool.
What’s is the worst-case scenario should the tourist attraction continue to operate?
There have been reports from similar setups of dolphins dying and simply being replaced. They can go blind from the chlorine and also if kept long enough may not be able to be rehabilitated to reenter the wild.
What was the resort’s response when you raised your concerns?
The resort's response was poor. They basically said they have all the documents and permits to house the dolphins, but just because it's technically legal, doesn't mean it's right.
What can the surfing community do specifically? Social media posts, writing to ministers, signing the petition, etc.?
Yes, if everyone could sign and share the petition at change.org/freebalidolphins and also tweet/send emails to the minister at firstname.lastname@example.org and @bravonur it would be excellent. Also take photos with writing on their boards/sand along with their country and hashtag #freebalidolphins to show the worldwide support.
It’s been reported that it’s a government-approved tourist attraction. Is it a worry that perhaps there are bigger issues at play?
Yes, there seems to be an illegal dolphin trade stemming back from Java, which is feeding these resorts and travelling circuses. It's a much bigger issue that needs to be tackled.
Have you had any correspondence with the Indonesian government?
Some contact has been made, but it's still early stages. They are now aware of the building support, so hopefully we see some developments in the near future.
Have you approached the Australian ambassador for Indonesia? Are they been able to pressure the Indonesian government?
I have tweeted at the Australian Ambassador to Indonesia, but haven't had any response as of yet. Hopefully with the petition continuing to gain worldwide recognition, it becomes too hard to ignore.
What can people do to help release the dolphins from captivity?
At this stage, just continuing to share and make people aware of these and other dolphins trapped in captivity. This would be the best thing. Also they cannot simply be rescued and thrown straight into the ocean, they need to go through the rehabilitation process.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I'd just like to thank everyone who has supported this cause so far and shared the word. We are starting to make small breakthroughs, so fingers crossed some action can be taken soon. In the meantime let all your friends know not to support Wake Bali Adventure and other companies who support dolphin tourism.
Sign the petition to help free the dolphins at Wake Bali Adventure resort.