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Why so many bad zoos in Malaysia?

July 2, 2012

FMT LETTER: From Monique Braun, via e-mail

I am sat here in Luxembourg where I regularly read distressing news reports concerning cruelty to zoo animals in Malaysia.

The cruelty appears to extend from poor or inadequate food, no enrichment, old and overcrowded cages, bad management, involvement of some zoos in the illegal wildlife trade and to cap it all, an uncaring or incompetent Ministry with responsibility for wild animals.

With this in mind I’m at a loss to understand why the Malaysian government are importing two pandas into Malaysia. I wonder is this a PR exercise to try and deflect mounting criticism of Malaysian zoos? If so, I doubt it will work.

Surely, I ask myself, those responsible in Malaysia must first and foremost have a duty of care towards your own wildlife? I fail to see how Chinese pandas will help any Malaysian to understand the need to save orangutans and other endangered species in your own country which I see are being ruthlessly killed on a regular basis.

In this day and age, especially in as affluent a country as Malaysia, there simply can be no excuse for bad zoos.

Right next door Singapore has a superb zoo with a worldwide reputation for excellence. Why is it then with its 40 or so zoos, parks etc. Malaysia does not have even one which meets the standards attained in Singapore?

It’s can’t be a question of money or ability – I doubt very much if your government will concede their opposite number in Singapore have more money and ability.

I’m left to conclude the government of Malaysia simply does not care about wild animals, captive or otherwise. And this sordid reputation is one they live with in the full knowledge its citizens as well as people like me the world over think of Malaysia as a country where no wild animals are safe. Because if this I won’t be visiting Malaysia, ever.


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