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Rocky and Rambo relocated to the Dolphin Sanctuary

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Approximately four months after two bottlenose dolphins named Rocky and Rambo were confiscated from the Melka Excelsior Hotel in North Bali, a team consisting of BKSDA, Dolphin project, JAAN supported by Westerlaken foundation successfully relocated the mammals to the world’s first permanent dolphin sanctuary.

The sanctuary, located in Banyuwedang Bay in West Bali is already home to two other bottlenose dolphins, Johny and Dewa who were confiscated at Oktober 8th from the same hotel.

In transit to the Bali Dolphin Sanctuary, Rocky and Rambo’s comfort and well-being are ensured by our team, Bali, Indonesia. Credit: DolphinProject/Tim Calver

Rocky and Rambo were violently captured in the Java Sea several years ago, and then spent several years incarcerated in a shallow, heavily chlorinated swimming pool at the Melka Hotel. Alongside Johnny and Dewa (and a fifth dolphin named Gombloh who died two days prior to our team’s rescue efforts), the dolphins were trained to obey commands and perform in theatrical shows that attract crowds of fun-seeking holiday makers. In between repetitive, rowdy shows, the two dolphins spent much time floating listlessly on the surface. They could swim only a few feet before a wall stopped them. Confinement in such barren, unnatural surroundings took a heavy toll on Rocky and Rambo’s well-being.

On August 5, Rocky and Rambo were confiscated, and transported to a temporary floating sea enclosure in Sanur. In recent months, the two dolphins gained weight, with both maintaining a healthy appetite. They have become great companions for one another and their physical and mental recovery continues to improve on a daily basis. With Rocky and Rambo’s relocation to the Bali Dolphin Sanctuary, all four rescued dolphins will be together at the same location for the first time since their initial confiscation.

Indonesia has now set the gold standard for the future of captive dolphins worldwide. With a permanent solution for retirement, dolphins no longer have to languish in tanks. What we accomplished in Indonesia can happen across the world, and represents the next phase in Dolphin Project’s ‘Empty the Tanks’ campaign.

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