A video showing Lucinta Luna, a dangdut singer, swimming with a dolphin at the Dolphin Lodge in Sanur, Bali is being widely castigated online.
Viewers condemn the apparent animal exploitation. And also activists say the incident illustrates local authorities’ lack of seriousness in protecting animals.
Lucinta’s clip on her YouTube channel has been reshared plenty of times since, including by animal rights organization Jakarta Animal Aid Network (JAAN) and public figures such as Davina Veronica, Kirana Larasati, and Manohara Odelia.
The video shows Lucinta and two other people, holding onto the dolphin’s flippers while the sea mammal swims belly up in the water.
The location of this activity has been identified as the Dolphin Lodge, a swim-with-dolphins attraction located in Sanur that has been banned from operating by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry since April 2020.
Dolphin Lodge, which is operated by PT Piayu Samudra Loka, has removed its Instagram account. The facility has various programs listed on its website, including Dolphin Interaction and Dolphin Educational, targeting both adults and children, charging from around IDR 500,000 (USD 34) for a 30-minute session.
People are calling out Lucinta for giving a bad example that goes against animal welfare while condemning the Dolphin Lodge for continuing their dolphin exploitation.
There are also growing calls for the Ministry of Environment to enforce its ban on the facility.
According to JAAN co-founder Femke den Haas, the practice of keeping dolphins in captivity is “a sensitive issue involving big money makers exploiting dolphins for profit.”
The Dolphin Lodge appears to hold captive at least three dolphins named Rose, Triton, and Ardhan. Their captivity is reminiscent of the dolphins rescued from mistreatment at Melka Hotel in northern Bali, which are now living at a permanent rehabilitation center in West Bali called Umah Lumba.
The dolphins had spent years confined in Melka’s heavily chlorinated swimming pool and were in varying degrees of bad health when they were rescued.
Organizers of Umah Lumba said the center is the first of its kind, and specifically designed for dolphins recently rescued from captive facilities.