Two dolphins have been "kidnapped" in Bali, Indonesia, after a restaurant which used to display the animals on the premises to lure in diners agreed to give them to a rehabilitation centre, an animal charity has claimed.
The Jakarta Animal Aid Network (JAAN) claims the owners of the Akame Dolphin Bay Restaurant in Benoa Harbour handed over the two dolphins for rehabilitation and release into the wild.
JAAN said the restaurant had made an agreement with Zulkifili Hasan, Indonesia's forestry minister, to release the animals after he visited recently.
According to the Jakarta Post, he ordered his staff to take the dolphins to a new rehabilitation facility. They were supposed to be handed over to JAAN and dolphin welfare advocate Ric O'Barry.
But they were moved in secret before they could be taken to the rehab centre, the Dolphin Rehabilitation Centre in Kemujan. Akame's dolphins were to be the first two dolphins in the facility.
JAAN said that instead the Akame dolphins were taken to a travelling circus in Weleri, Central Java.
"The dolphins are now on a truck to be transported inhumanely over 20 hours or more to be put in a condition even worse than that noted by the minister as being 'cruel and unacceptable'," said the charity.
"The owner of the travelling show has its holding station there and it is widely documented that this is where the dolphins were originally kept and sold to unlicensed commercial exploitation facilities.
"It appears that the public announcements and promises provided by the minister of forestry, Zul Hasan, may have been lip service," JAAN continued.
"The transportation of these animals overland and across public ferries in inadequate trucks with inadequate health and safety considerations back to their original captive location where they were sold illegally is in breach of all commitments, laws, and regulations."