Circus Dolphins Rescued From Resort Pool Finally Get A Taste Of Freedom

Three bottlenose dolphins were given a chance at freedom after being rescued from an Indonesian tourist attraction.

The dolphins, named Johnny, Rocky, and Rambo, spent years living in a tiny resort hotel pool. Before that, they were forced to perform in a traveling circus.

Photo: Public Domain Pictures

Thankfully, help arrived and the dolphins were eventually rescued by the Umah Lumba Rehabilitation, Release and Retirement Center with the Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project.

While being rescued was the first huge step, their journey to freedom didn’t end there. The best place for a dolphin to be is in the wild, free to explore, socialize, and live to the fullest. The rescuers wanted to give the dolphins a chance to have that freedom back, but they would need a lot of rehabilitation and work first.

It took three years of rehabilitation, but the dolphins were finally deemed suitable for release and the big day came on September 3, 2022.

Photo: flickr/Ken Lund

Speaking with the Associated Press, Lincoln O’Barry with the Dolphin Project said:

“It was an incredibly emotional experience to see them go. The dolphins did a circle around our facility, they actually went out to the opening where the sea was, and then they turned back around came back to us one more time almost to say ‘thank you’ and ‘goodbye’ and then they headed straight out into the ocean and disappeared.”

You can watch their release in the video below:

In a press release, the Dolphin Project said that in the days following their release, Johnny and Rambo have stayed near the area they were released and were very active, exploring all the different parts of the surrounding bays and offshore island while remaining in the vicinity of the original release site.

Rocky, however, took a different path and separated from the group. So far, he’s traveled at least 1,200 kilometers and left Bali entirely. The rehabilitation team believes he may have joined another pod, but they can’t be certain.

Photo: flickr/Ken Lund

From what they can tell so far, the rehabilitation of the three dolphins was a success. Observing Johnny and Rambo in the wild, they were able to learn that both dolphins were capable of catching their own fish, they didn’t approach humans or beg for food, and they stayed together which is important for predator avoidance.

Hopefully they continue to thrive in freedom!

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