NGOs: End the Abuse of Animals at Kemaman Zoo
A baby orangutan languishes in a tiny cage at Kemaman Zoo in Terengganu.
Two Malaysian animal rights organizations are up in arms over what they say are the appalling conditions in which several animals are kept at Kemaman Zoo in Terengganu. Malaysian Friends of the Animals and Friends of the Orangutans are calling on the management of the zoo, which started operations in 2009, to improve the welfare of resident animals at once.
“We have verified the photos and videos which we received,” Hasrul Mohamad, a representative of the animals rights group Malaysian Friends of the Animals, tells Clean Malaysia. “They are shocking to say the least,” he adds. “The standard of care provided for animals at this zoo is extremely poor and the wildlife department, Perhilitan, needs to intervene to alleviate the abuse and suffering of the animals at the zoo.”
The NGO says it is especially outraged at the treatment of elephants and a baby orangutan at the zoo. The juvenile ape has apparently been confined to a small cage since November. “The baby orangutan has been kept in the same tiny cage, either repeatedly or continuously, since November,” Hasrul says. “It’s extremely shameful how our beloved orangutans are treated.”
Upreshpal Singh, director of the Friends of the Orangutans (Foto), has likewise expressed concern over the treatment of the baby orangutan, which was likely fathered by a Sumatran orangutan. “Whatever the reason for the baby being alone, he needs to be taken out of the cage instantly,” the animal expert says. “Separating mum and baby is stressful for both and can cause psychological damage to the infant, especially when the baby is kept in a condition like that for a very long time,” he elucidates. “There needs to be explanation on why infant and mother are separated.”
In addition, he explains, all three female orangutans kept at the zoo are visibly overweight and confined to enclosures without enrichment tools, which deprives them of adequate mental and emotional stimulation. At least one of them is also likely to be suffering from breathing difficulties and appears to need urgent veterinary intervention.
Nor are elephants and tigers faring much better at the zoo, according to Hasrul. “The elephants are underweight and are clearly showing signs of extreme stress because of mistreatment,” he says. “Tigers are kept in small, barren cages when not on display, we could go on.”
Malaysian Friends of the Animals says it has received credible information that several resident animals have died in suspicious circumstances at the zoo over the past year, including gibbons, tapirs and sun bears. “We ask the zoo and the wildlife department to shed light on these alleged tragic deaths,” the animal rights activist stresses.