Dolphin in captivity doing tricks


Dolphins in Captivity: Suffering not Smiling

Every year, nearly 3.8 million tourists visit the beautiful island of Bali. Many of them visit attractions and participate in activities that fuel immense animal suffering. When holidaying in Bali, please choose the places you visit and support with caution.
The marine mammal industry is big business and is driven by people’s desire to see these amazing and iconic animals up close and, in many cases, to swim or interact with them. However, life in captivity is totally unsuitable for cetaceans (dolphins, whales and porpoises). The marine mammal industry threatens wild populations and inflicts cruelty and suffering on countless animals.



Facts about Dolphin Attractions in Bali

Dolphin attractions encourage the capture of dolphins from the wild

  • Many dolphins are caught from the wild for sale to commercial operations that are supported by people’s desire to see the amazing animals up close. Dolphin family members are separated from each other and many animals are seriously injured or even killed during capture.
  • It is often claimed that the dolphins in resorts or ‘sea pens’ are rescued from circuses or from entanglement in fishing nets, sometimes awaiting rehabilitation to the wild. The reality is that these dolphins are caught to supply a lucrative trade.

Life in a swimming pool is miserable for these highly inteligent animals

  • Swimming pools and sea pens rarely accommodate families or social groups and deny dolphins the open space and diversity that they need.
  • Chemically treated water may cause painful ulcers and skin lesions.
  • In the wild, cetaceans live in social groups, but in captivity many are kept in isolation and mothers and calves are regularly separated.
  • Dolphins are intelligent and wide-ranging animals, swimming up to 96 kilometres a day. They can reach speeds up to 35 kmh and dive to more than 305 metres. These natural behaviours are denied in captivity.
  • Lives cut short: Dolphins rarely live as long in captivity as they might in the wild.

Forced to perform: Suffering not Smiling

  • The captive-dolphin industry would like you to believe that dolphins love to perform. This is not true. Trainers often force the dolphins to do tricks by withholding food and by isolating them. For social animals, isolation is a very cruel punishment.

Wild and Unpredictable

  • Dolphins are wild animals and therefore unpredictable. Many dolphins in captivity exhibit behavioural traits which make them potentially dangerous in human-animal interaction sessions. People have been injured, sometimes seriously, swimming with dolphins.



What can you do?

  • NEVER participate in ‘swim with dolphin’ and ‘dolphin-assisted therapy’ sessions
  • DO NOT stay at hotels that support these industries
  • DO NOT support tour operators that book tours to such facilities
  • WRITE to your tour operator expressing your concerns for dolphins in captivity
  • WRITE to your local Indonesian Embassy to call for a ban on keeping cetaceans in captivity in Indonesia
  • REPORT facilities housing dolphins, whales or porpoises to BAWA.


BAWA does not support facilities that keep wild animals in captivity for commercial gain. Keeping wildlife in captivity for food production or entertainment is unacceptable.