Bali is far from an island paradise for captive wild animals

Bali Zoo, Singapadu Village, Sukawati, Gianyar Regency, Bali, Indonesia. Photos with Orang Utan at kampung Sumatra, Bali Zoo.

All tourism entertainment venues with captive elephants, tigers, dolphins or civet cats in Bali, fail to meet the basic needs of wild animals in captivity, according to a new investigation undertaken by World Animal Protection.

“New investigation finds 100% of venues with captive elephants, tigers, dolphins or civet cats didn’t meet basic needs of animals in captivity”

The Wildlife Abusement Parks report presents the results of an investigation into 26 wildlife tourism venues in Bali, Lombok and Gili Trawangan, housing 1,500 wild animals including elephants, dolphins and orangutans.

Bali is a popular travel destination, with more than a million Australian tourists visiting the island last year. But far from being an island paradise, the report paints a bleak picture of the conditions for captive wild animals.

Bali Fantasi turtle and animal attraction at “Turtle Island” at Tanjung Benoa, Badung Regency, Bali, Indonesia. “Turtle conservation” that become tourist attraction, also there are mini zoo that we find flyingfox, pyton, iguana, civet, eagle, mongkey and owl.


Elephant rides, dolphin swims, orangutan selfies and other attractions, such as circus-style shows, are increasingly popular tourist activities for many travellers to the island. Some the of most disturbing findings of the animal welfare assessment conducted in November 2017 include:

  • All dolphins were kept in severely inadequate conditions – one pool estimated to be 10X20 metres and three metres deep, housed four bottlenose dolphins.
  • Dolphins at one venue have had their teeth filed down or removed entirely to ensure they are unable to injure swimmers
  • All of the elephant venues offered elephant rides, which involve cruel training and expose the animals to stressful situations.
  • Nearly 15% of elephants displayed stereotypies – abnormal repetitive behaviours – including swaying and foot shuffling. Such behaviours indicate distress and suffering
  • All venues with orangutans offered selfie experiences, which put both humans and wild animals at risk

Ben Pearson, Senior Campaign Manager, World Animal Protection said:

“The growing demand for harmful wildlife selfies, shows and encounters is a serious animal welfare issue in Bali and surrounding islands.

Taman Ayu Sari civet coffee at Mengwi, Badung Regency, Bali, Indonesia.

“Behind the scenes wild animals are being taken from their mothers as babies or bred in captivity to be kept in filthy, cramped conditions, or repeatedly forced to interact with tourist for hours on end.

“World Animal Protection is urging Aussie tourists to avoid these venues, and boycott the travel companies that promote and support them. If you can ride, hug or have a selfie with a wild animal, the chances are that animal has been subjected to cruelty.”

While wildlife tourism investigations in other regions were able to find non- exploitative venues with good welfare standards, the same can’t be said for the study of Bali, Lombok and Gili Trawangan.

Bali Safari and Marine Park at Lebih Village, Gianyar regency, Bali, Indonesia. Photo with animal.

“Individual tourists can be part of the solution by making ethical travel choices by avoiding these cruel venues and travel companies that promote or support these venues,” Mr Pearson added.

“We are calling on all Australian travel companies to audit their Bali offerings and ensure they are not supporting the venues mentioned in this report,” Mr Pearson said.

To protect wild animals, World Animal Protection has convinced nearly 200 travel companies to stop offering elephant rides and shows in travel packages. World Animal Protection is calling on all Australian travel companies to develop an animal welfare policy to ensure they aren’t promoting cruel wildlife attractions beyond Bali, and to help educate Australian tourists of the hidden cruelty.

Miko Santos

Miko Santos is the founder of Reporti and a NZ/Australia GMA 7 News Correspondent.

Mico has BA in Journalism. He worked as an feature writer/ Journalist for 20 years in the Philippines. Covering big events such as EDSA 2 and 3 and the 2011 Christchurch Killer Earthquake for GMA 7.

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