Imagine 44 zoos in Malaysia and only 1 in Singapore! The mother of all the problems in zoos is corruption. If only we have a transparent and competent government. If only the anti-corruption agency is fearless. If only wildlife personnel do their job well...all zoos would be well kept. Until then, even with strict enforcement and laws, the operators will get away with minimum charges. So for SAM and Foto, just dream on....
Thursday June 28, 2012
Please give two hoots
SOME of the zoos in the country are still in deplorable conditions, according to two non-governmental organisations.
Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) and Friends of the Orangutans (Foto) claimed that many animals were suffering in these zoos due to poor maintenance.
SAM president S.M. Mohamed Idris, who said Malaysia has 44 zoos, which include mini zoos, aviaries and animal parks, claimed that some of them were in disgusting condition.
He said that, in contrast, Singapore has only one zoo which is of world class.
“Due to the lack of enforcement, many animals have suffered over the years at the hands of zoo operators whose main purpose is to make money.
“Zoos must be responsible to keep animals in conditions that satisfy their social behavioural and biological needs. The operators should also meet the standards of health and husbandry welfare of the animals,” Idris told a press conference at the Consumers Association of Penang’s office in Jalan Mesjid Negeri yesterday.
Foto founder Upreshpal Singh said an investigation conducted by the organisation at 15 zoos (including mini zoos, aviaries and animal parks) across Malaysia since July last year revealed that most of them were in terrible state due to lack of maintenance.
He cited as examples an ostrich farm, which had animals that looked sick, and a mini zoo with snakes kept in fish tanks that did not meet their species-specific needs.
Idris and Upreshpal also provided photos taken by SAM and Foto to back their claims. One of them showed ostriches without feathers.
Upreshpal also claimed that there was a theme park where elephants were used for entertainment purposes, with the animals made to draw and their drawings sold for profit.
Both SAM and Foto urged the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) to stop issuing licences for new zoos unless existing ones are properly maintained.
Their claims of deplorable conditions at the zoos come as the six-month grace period for zoo operators to comply with requirements of the Wildlife Conservation (Operation of Zoo) Regulations 2012, which was gazetted on Feb 1, is about to expire.
The new law requires zoos and animal parks to adhere to minimum cage sizes, which are specified according to various animal groups; to have a quarantine area and a veterinary clinic or hospital; and to employ a full-time veterinarian.
Other requirements are to provide vaccination of animals by a veterinarian or anyone under his supervision, to ensure the cleanliness of the facility and that wildlife shows can only be conducted if it involved the animals’ natural behaviours.
Operators who contravene these provisions are liable to a fine not exceeding RM100,000 or/and a prison term not exceeding five years.
It was reported on May 16 that Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah Embas said zoos and wildlife sanctuaries, which mistreat animals, would not be allowed to operate under the new guidelines to be enforced from August.
He had said that zoos that flouted the regulations would be denied a licence at the end of the six-month grace period.