Two wild dolphins kept behind bars for human entertainment. Photo Credit:

Candice Chandler, Global Animal

Dolphins have always been regarded as one of the most intelligent and complex creatures in the sea. Their ability to communicate, learn, and socialize has captivated people. Capitalizing on the natural fascination people have towards the unique and human-like qualities of dolphins, certain groups capture them from the ocean and force them into pens, where the dolphins are trained to perform in traveling circuses. 

Indonesian circuses have taken dolphin shows to a disturbing level. On the island of Java, Indonesia, three different companies continue to illegally capture wild dolphins and force into performing for entertainment. The capture, care, and transport of these marine mammals is loosely regulated, and action must be taken to expose these circuses, and to rehabilitate and release the captive dolphins. 

Jakarta Animal Aid Network (JAAN) is the leading organization fighting for the protection of wild animals in Indonesia. They have attempted to publicize and end the cruel treatment that Wersut Seguni Indonesia, Taman Safari Indonesia, and Ancol inflict on wild dolphins. Combined, these three circuses possess 72 dolphins that were gained through the manipulation of the Indonesian Government’s regulations for obtaining and keeping wildlife. 

Click to sign a petition ending the capture of wild dolphins in Indonesia!

These dolphins are not only improperly cared for, but they are kept in shallow, plastic pools where they are forced to perform. The circus workers transport them in trucks where they succumb to immense stress. Due to this mistreatment, most dolphins fall ill and eventually die. 

Statistically, wild dolphins swim up to 50 miles a day and dive to depths of 200 feet. When they are forced to inhabit plastic tanks where water temperatures rise quickly and depths only reach a maximum of six feet, death is imminent. 

Enclosures like the plastic pools that these Indonesian circuses use cause social stress as well. The limited amount of communication with other dolphins and the dead fish given for feeding dramatically affect the health of dolphins in these shows.

JAAN needs as much support as possible to help save these dolphins and release them back into the wild. They have asked for as many people as possible to sign the petition before March 1, 2012. Since JAAN has been told they can no longer protest to set the dolphins free, any support from outside advocates is crucial. It’s time to end the dolphin circuses and release these important marine mammals back into open ocean. 

To learn more about JAAN, visit their website