The existence of Melka Hotel in northern Bali, where dolphins and other exotic animals were kept as tourist attractions, has long been a concern among animal activists. After a rescue mission evacuated most of the creatures in August, the evacuation of the two remaining dolphins to a sanctuary this week seems to have finally ended years of alleged animal abuse.
In a video shared yesterday, the Dolphin Project announced that they have just removed the last dolphins from Melka Hotel’s swimming pool.
Established in 1970, Dolphin Project is a US-based non-profit organization working to protect dolphins worldwide.
The organization worked with officials from the Indonesian government’s Natural Resources Conservation Center (BKSDA) in Bali and the Jakarta Animal Aid Network (JAAN) in early August on a rescue mission, wherein they evacuated a number of animals from the Melka Hotel, following years of allegations of animal abuse.
The animals, including two dolphins, three saltwater crocodiles and two leaf monkeys that had been kept in allegedly “deplorable conditions,” were evacuated during that rescue mission.
The two other dolphins – Johnny and Dewa – which were determined to be unfit for evacuation then, were finally evacuated to a sanctuary at the West Bali National Park this week, where they are likely to stay for the remainder of their lives.
In a video posted on Facebook, Dolphin Project founder and director Richard “Ric” O’Barry said that they’ll be joined by the first two dolphins, Rocky and Rambo, next month.
The Dolphin Project previously said that Johnny and Dewa might not be able to be released back into the wild due to their bad health, which activists suspect might be a result of the chlorine toxicity in the hotel’s swimming pool.
In a blog post from late August, the organization explained that since Dewa’s teeth are gone, he is no longer able to catch fish. Johnny’s blindness, meanwhile, means that he can never be released back into the wild either.
However, according to Soemarsono, an official from BKSDA Bali, Johnny and Dewa are simply being kept temporarily at the sanctuary as opposed to being confiscated.
“…These dolphins are not confiscated. They’re just being moved temporarily. Later after Melka [Hotel] fix their facility, we will return them,” Soemarsono said, as quoted by Tribun-Bali.
After the rescue mission in August, another official from BKSDA Bali, I Ketut Catur Marbawa, said the hotel stands to lose their conservation permit (which allowed it to house protected animals such as dolphins) and might even face criminal charges should the agency determine that there are signs of negligence.
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