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Dolphins on the Menu

Minister of Forestry Visits Bali Restaurant Illegally Showcasing Live Dolphins and Orders Restaurant to Send Animals to Rehabilitation Center

(2/15/2013) Indonesia’s Minister of Forestry, Zulkifli Hasan visited the Akame Restaurant located near Bali’s southern harbor of Benoa on Wednesday, February 13, 2013, to investigate reports that dolphins were being mistreated and illegally held captive there

Kompas.com reports that upon arriving at the restaurant, Zulkifli found two dolphins were "employed" at the restaurant to entertain dinners.

After interacting with the two mammals, Zulkilfi told the press gathered at the Akame Restaurant: “According to the regulations dolphins can only be held captive at conservation facilities and that can only be done in accordance to strict rules. For me, this place is not appropriate (for dolphins) and I feel pity for the animals.”

The Minister asked to see the applicable permits of the restaurant only to learn that the permit for captive dolphins being used had been issued to PT WSI, a company in Central Java. Seeing the poor condition in which the dolphins were kept, the Minister decided that the two animals must be sent to a new dolphin rehabilitation center established on Karimunjawa Island, north of Java.

“To permit further research, we have agreed with the owner (of the restaurant) that the dolphins will be sent for rehabilitation at Karimunjawa. This requires careful preparations as Karimunjawa is not close by,” explained Zulkilfi.

It is not clear when the relocation process will begin due to the preparation that must undertaken before transporting the mammals. The Minister said that the dolphins must undergo a rehabilitation process before they can be safely released back into the oceans.