Indonesia is the last country with a traveling dolphin show. This clearly is nothing to be proud of: traveling dolphin shows are forbidden worldwide for good reasons.
As “Doubledealing sabotages dolphin rehab & release project in Indonesia” recounts (http://www.animals24-7.org/2013/03/22/doubledealing-…t-in-indonesia/ ), Indonesian forestry minister Zulkifli Hasan on February 5, 2013 stated on the @america live television program that “No traveling circus in Indonesia is permitted to transport live dolphins,” yet the road shows continued throughout Java.
In August 2013, the minister in an official letter ordered a total halt to the circus. The circus owners signed a statement that they would stop the travel shows. Rahmat Shah, the head of PKBSI, the Indonesian association for animal parks, also signed this document. Yet Rahmat Shah on December 29, 2013 attended the official launch of a new mini bus purchased by the company Wersut Seguni Indonesia to transport road show dolphins, and urged fishers who find dolphins caught in their nets to take them to WSI.
This statement was a violation of the Indonesian law for biodiversity, in effect since 1990, and also of the 2012 Indonesian National Protocol for Stranded Marine Mammals.
How the dolphins are transported, whether by bus or any other way, is not the problem that animal rights campaigners address. Dolphins belong in the wild. Traveling shows expose dolphins who have been taken from the ocean illegally to extreme cruelty.
Back in 2010 the forestry department requested help from the Jakarta Animal Aid Network to rehabilitate illegally kept dolphins. A memorandum of understanding was signed and rehabilitation facilities were built with the financial aid and supervision of Earth Island Institute in 2011. Yet these facilities remain empty and the illegal dolphin shows continue.
Why? Because the forestry department trusts the wrong people to run animal parks, and PKBSI is active in animal trade and exploitation.
It is for these reasons that Indonesian animal parks such as the Surabaya Zoo are internationally notorious for animal deaths and bad conditions. This week alone we have received reports and complaints about animal parks in Batam, Bukitinggi, Kedaton Lampung, Palangkaraya and Ragunan.
The problems in these animal parks could be solved if the forestry department would shut the PKBSI down completely, and set up a new neutral team to enforce strict animal welfare standards. Most Indonesian animal parks currently do not meet such basic standards as providing shelter from heat and rain, fresh drinking water, proper basic veterinary care. The forestry department published a protocol for animal welfare in 2011, yet the protocol has never been enforced and never will as long as the PKBSI holds in enforcement authority.
––Femke den Haas, Jakarta Animal Aid
Jalan Kemang Timur Raya #17A, South Jakarta, 12730, Indonesia
Phone: 62-21-7802556; fax: 62-21-7802556;