The Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO) in 2013  achieved a historic victory for all cetaceans, particularly dolphins, through its high octane “Ban Captive Dolphins” campaign. The multi-faceted campaign persuaded the Ministry of Environment and Forests to prohibit the establishment of Dolphinaria and keeping any cetaceans in captivity in India. Thus India joined a select band of countries that actively practiced ahimsa.

FIAPO had launched the campaign to “Ban Captive Dolphins” in partnership with Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre, Earth Island Institute’s Dolphin Project, Global Greengrants Fund and the Born Free Foundation. FIAPO recognized the urgency to launch a campaign when proposals arose to establish captive cetacean facilities in India for commercial entertainment in the states of Kerala, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andaman’s, Delhi and Goa.

FIAPO’s campaign reached out to two specific audiences, the Government of India and the general public. FIAPO’s interactions with the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) led them to issue a statement to all state governments barring them from issuing performance certificates as required by the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.

Petitioning the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) of India resulted in the CZA issuing a statement that captive dolphin facilities would be classed as ‘zoos’ and would require compliance with ‘zoo guidelines’ and also require prior permission from the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India.

The campaign was run in parallel segments of preventive and mobilisation actions from 2012 – 2013. FIAPO conducted public outreach activities through social media platforms, participation in environment and wildlife-centric festivals, global and national print, media and radio coverage, concentrating focus on the physical and psychological stresses suffered by marine mammals during capture and captivity.

As a result of FIAPO’s public outreach, animal protectors in several cities formed their own groups to develop innovative ideas to sensitise people to the issues of keeping dolphins in captivity, including a coalition of environmentalists in Kerala and a local group in Goa.

Visit the campaign website here .