FMT LETTER: From Upreshpal Singh, via e-mail
Many are wondering what enrichment programme Melaka Zoo is running to keep the orangutans occupied (‘Zoo: Orang utans allowed to roam’, NST, May 29, 2012). There is nothing much for orangutans to do in the outdoor exhibit, enrichment is cheap to provide and an essential requirement for all zoo species. Telling from pictures people around the world have seen, the orangutans’ night cages have very little or zero enrichment.
The night cage of the Sumatran orangutan urgently needs improvement as it is totally barren of any enrichment whatsoever, and so again we ask, what enrichment programme? We also would like to know the health of this orangutan as it is not behaving like a normal, healthy orangutan would. For a government owned and managed zoo, this treatment of orangutans, a species which should be seen as an icon of Malaysia’s environment, to be caged indoors for 3-4 days a week is cruel, totally unacceptable and against the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010.
Meanwhile, we also wonder if Melaka Zoo will shed more light on chief minister Mohd Ali Rustam’s statement about a new orangutan enclosure (‘Bigger Home For 13 Orangutan of Melaka Zoo, NST, Dec 29, 2011). We urge Perhilitan to accelerate the transfer of orangutans from Melaka Zoo to Borneo as mentioned by the director of Melaka Zoo. Please could he inform the public about these plans and where in Borneo the orangutans will be sent to? We can be sure many out there would like to be updated on this matter.
Perhilitan must take immediate action to improve the situation of orangutans at Melaka Zoo. Friends of the orangutans around the world are watching how orangutans in Malaysia is being treated and everyone is angered and calling for a change. Perhilitan should be aware of this and rectify this issue before Malaysia’s reputation is effected further because people who care will never give up until changes have been made.