Murder of zoo animals cruel

Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) views the killing of a Malayan sun bear and an Arabian stallion in Malacca Zoo as malicious and vicious.  Taking the lives of innocent defenseless animals is a vile and dastardly act.

This is not the first time revenge  is taken on captive wildlife.  In 2007,  the Langkawi Underwater World lost 600 fish worth thousands of ringgit in a mysterious death believed to be carried out by insiders.

Again, this brings to mind the problem of blatant vandalism faced by every zoo.  Animals must never be left unattended, and security guards should be on the zoo premises from the time visitors leave until zoo staff return to work the following day.  They can also be of assistance in the prevention of casualties to zoo inmates.  The installation of more surveillance cameras is also of utmost importance.

A zoo should be a safe environment for its animal residents.  Instead, it is very disturbing to learn that someone would intentionally come into the zoo to feed the animals with food laced with poison.  Captive wildlife should not suffer the wrath of infuriated individuals who can only vent their anger on the innocent animals.

The intentional killing of wildlife is a serious offence, which should be punishable to the fullest extent of the Wildlife Conservation law.  The convicted person should be banned from possessing or acquiring any wildlife and/ or setting up an animal establishment for life.

The confiscation of animals and closures of zoos would not be necessary if operators had paid attention to the many abuses and concerns that have been raised by NGOs.  Despite much outcry over the treatment of captive animals and the size of their enclosures, animal exploitation changes very little.  When the law does comes into force (after a six months grace period) the department swings into action only after pressure from local and foreign groups.

On the other hand, there would not be any of these problems had the Wildlife Department curtailed or stopped the granting of licenses for the burgeoning zoo industry. In almost every state, there is bound to be a zoo, be they aviary, crocodile farm, mini zoo, snake farm, and so forth, established by either private zoo operators, the municipal council, or the veterinary department.

Even before any upgrading to the present nightmarish zoo conditions can be conducted,  it irks SAM terribly to  learn of new and upcoming establishments, such as the Bukit Gambang Safari Park in Kuantan, Sea World Theme Park in Malacca housing whales and dolphins,  and an animal sanctuary in resort styled private villas in the lush jungle outback of Pahang.

It is high time the department consider whether there is need for more zoos when the current zoo situation is grossly inadequate and defects affecting the well-being of zoo animals are being constantly overlooked.

Media Statement, 6 March 2013