This Sanctuary Is Freeing Captive Dolphins And Giving Them Perfect Forever Home.

To Rocky, Rambo, and Johnny, freedom is swimming through seawater, enjoying the rhythm and sounds of the ocean without being forced to perform on command.

For years, all the three dolphins knew were tiny, chlorinated pools and loud crowds. But today, they’re finally free again thanks to a one-of-a-kind sanctuary in Bali, Indonesia.

A few years ago, the dolphins were captured in the Java Sea, ripped away from their family pods and natural environment to live in captivity at Bali’s Melka Excelsior Hotel. There, jumping through hoops and swimming with tourists in pools became their new reality — until help came last year.

Teaming up with the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry, the Natural Resources Conservation Center (BKSDA) in Bali, and the Jakarta Animal Aid Network (JAAN), the U.S.-based non-profit Dolphin Project opened the world’s first permanent dolphin sanctuary in 2019. That same year, Rocky, Rambo, and Johnny became its first residents.

bali dolphin sanctuary

At The Bali Dolphin Sanctuary, dolphins are rehabilitated and either released or retired, depending on their condition. Those well enough to be released back into the wild are taken to Camp Lumba Lumba Readaptation and Release Center, then set free in Karimun Jawa, from which many were originally captured.

“The facility sea pens are about 15 meters (50 feet) deep,” reads Dolphin Project’s website. “These pens are some of the largest in the world and being situated in calm, natural seawater, boast a variety of fish, squid, crustaceans and other sea life. The size, depth and biological diversity offer a rich and stimulating environment for formerly captive dolphins!”

dolphin swimming

While Johnny will live out his days at the sanctuary, there’s a chance both Rambo and Rocky will return to the ocean. But no matter what happens, they’ll never be exploited again.

In the little time it’s been open, the sanctuary has already given three dolphins their lives back. And this project is just getting started! Ric O’Barry, an animal activist and founder of the Dolphin Project, says the organization hopes to open more facilities in Italy and Crete. In the meantime, they won’t stop until every captive dolphin is free.

Take a virtual tour of the facility in the video below, and share to spread the word about this incredible sanctuary! You can also help by donating here.

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