By Bilal Kuchay
This heartbreaking footage shows the appalling living conditions of dolphins forced to perform tricks for the public in circuses – despite calls for the practice to be banned.
In Indonesia activists claim the loveable sea creatures are stolen from the wild and kept in captivity in travelling circuses across the country.
The intelligent mammals are reportedly forced to perform tricks in tiny, temporary pools filled with highly chlorinated water that could even render them blind before being packed into tiny tanks on the back of trucks to be moved to the next town.
Recent footage filmed in a circus in Pekanbaru in Riau Province, show two dolphins named Brama and Kumbara doing flips and tricks for audiences of up to 500 people, who pay as little as £2.70 to watch the spectacle.
Circus organisers said the dolphins were fed three times a day and their health checked regularly.
Dedy Sutisna, 35, who filmed the footage, said: “It was heartbreaking for me to see how dolphins have been made a tool of public entertainment.
“I saw many parents had brought their children to watch the dolphin show.
“I urge people to show some empathy for these dolphins and stop coming to these shows and also educate their children, that the actual habitat of dolphins is ocean and not the these circuses.”
In one clip, the dolphins can be seen holding beach balls between their fins and moving through the water. One dolphin can also be seen hitting the ball into the crowd with her tail amid applause from the audiences.
The aquatic mammals can also be seen being forced to slide out of the pool so the audience, mostly comprised of children, can touch and take photos with them.
When a show is complete, the animals are taken from the pools and put inside plastic tanks on the back of trucks and taken to the next town.
Animal rights activists have long condemned the operations and have called for the rehabilitation and release of the dolphins.
Violetta Hasan Noor said: “These circuses must be banned.
“Dolphins are being used to entertain people for economic benefits and are being carried from one city to another. This is cruelty.
“How can these dolphins be kept away from their natural habitat and forced to perform for the public?
“It will damage their organs and shorten their life span.”
Another environmental activist, Aulia Putra, from Riau University, said: “This is exploitation and torture of animals.
“We condemn and reject such acts of exploitation of animals and urge the government to close the animal circuses across the country.”
However, the organisers claim that they do not exploit the sea creatures and conduct the shows as per the rules and regulations.
Drh Dwi Restu Seta, one of the organisers of the circus, said: “We are following rules and regulations laws while conducting these shows. We are taking full care of the dolphins.
“We feed them three times a day and check their health regularly.
“Entrance ticket for one person is Rp. 50000 [£2.70] and for VIP Rp. 75000 [£3.70] with a capacity to accommodate 60 VIP spectators and 500 regular spectators.”