Indonesia is home to the world's last remaining travelling dolphin circuses. Over 72 bottlenose and stenella dolphins are kept in the most appalling of conditions to preform for audiences across the island of Java. The animals are frequently hauled out of their plastic performing pools and loaded into the back of trucks along with other animals as the circuses move from town to town.
We, the undersigned, writing to you out of concern for the well-being of protected animals used in travelling circuses in Indonesia. Especially the situation of the travelling dolphin circus Wersut Seguni Indonesia (WSI) deserves your attention. WSI uses baby sunbears (Helarctos malayanus), yellow crested cockatoos (cacatua galerita), small clawed otters (Aonyx cinerea) and even dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) in its shows. An orangutan, endangered and protected by Indonesian law, is also kept illegally on the premises of WSI in the Kendal province of central Java, in darkness and isolation. The illegal trade in these animals is threatening the wild dolphin populations in Indonesian waters due to the upcoming industry of 'swimming with dolphins' programs and travel shows. For the travelling circuses the dolphins are transported by trucks to various cities throughout Indonesia. The stress of the circus performances and the frequent transportation has already resulted in a large number of dolphin deaths. Research conducted (2009-2010-2011) by the Jakarta Animal Aid Network (JAAN) proved that all animals kept at WSI were illegally caught from the wild, without any license. The capturing of dolphins from the wild obviously has a big negative impact on the wild populations. Since data on dolphin populations (numbers and species) are still lacking in Indonesia, we take this matter very seriously. JAAN brought the evidence to the relevant authorities and was able to sign an Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Indonesian government permitting the rescue, rehabilitation and relocation of the dolphins and the rescue of the other animals. JAAN has set up sea pens and a rehabilitation program for the 27 bottlenose and stenella dolphins kept at WSI and this will become the first permanent facility in the world to rehabilitate and release dolphins back into the wild. Arrangements were also made for the animals to be confiscated and transported to the facility. The program ensures that where possible the dolphins will be set free or at minimum live out their lives in stress free large semi-wild enclosures. Last month government officials cancelled the raid operation at the last moment without proper explanation and it has become clear that the influential circus owners have successfully persuaded the very officials that are supposed to protect the animals from harm. Seven months after the agreement with the Indonesian government was signed, the animals are still used in the shows of WSI and no action has been taken by the authorities. Indonesia is the last country where dolphins are used in travelling shows and this is something which is condemned around the world. We would like to ask you to put this issue towards the relevant Indonesian authorities and ensure that animals kept illegally by WSI are re-located to an appropriate rehabilitation facility. We also request that you will put this case to the Indonesian government to ensure that Indonesian law and international regulations are upheld and that Indonesia can proudly show a leadership role in the protection of these endangered species. Thank you for your attention and I look forward hearing from you regarding any possible action you are able to take on this issue.Your immediate action is needed. Sincerely,The undersigned
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