Travel operators caught in dolphin hunting scandal

Dolphin hunting in the tourism industry is in the spotlight this week, as five major international travel companies have been allegedly linked with the cruel practice this week, including, Klook, Traveloka, GetYourGuide and Groupon.

A report from World Animal Protection (WAP) discovered the operators sell tickets to venues that have sourced dolphins from Taiji. It also revealed that 107 entertainment venues across 17 countries are connected to Taiji. WAP is now calling on the companies to implement animal welfare policies and to cease the promotion of these venues.

Klook has already begun to take action to review and remove some of these offerings.

The Taiji drive hunt is based on driving dolphins and other small cetaceans into a small bay where they are killed or captured for their meat and for sale to bidders around the world.

WAP’s report revealed that the global captive dolphin entertainment industry is a key economic driver of the Taiji hunts and that trained dolphins can sell for up to US$150,000 to overseas dolphin entertainment venues.

“Our approach is to continually work with operators to encourage long-term and sustainable change, which not only takes into consideration animal welfare but also communities directly impacted by the industry,” Klook’s Senior Sustainability Manager, Rebecca Keiller told Travel Daily.

No Australian and New Zealand operators were found to be involved, but Taiji dolphins have been discovered in countries often frequented by local tourists, including Thailand, Vietnam, Mexico and the Philippines.

“Based on the disastrous animal welfare impacts, and absolute brutality involved in these hunts, it is completely indefensible for global travel companies to continue sending unsuspecting travellers to venues who have sourced dolphins from Taiji. This is corporate irresponsibility at its finest,” said Suzanne Milthorpe, Head of Campaigns at World Animal Protection Australia and New Zealand.

“As long as travel companies continue to sell tickets to dolphin entertainment venues, they are directly contributing to the suffering of these intelligent marine mammals.”

As part of its report, World Animal Protection found that 79% of tourists would prefer to see dolphins in the wild rather than captivity. Meanwhile, 82% believe operators should not promote activities that cause suffering to wild animals.

On the other side of the spectrum, the report also called out Airbnb,, Tripadvisor, and Virgin Australia as industry-leading for their progressive animal welfare policies.

Travel Daily has reached out to and Traveloka for comment.

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