From: Jennifer Yeap via e-mail
Malaysian Friends of the Animals recently received reports and photos of the animals at Underwater World Langkawi. The reports assessed how animals are being kept there and whether any efforts were being made to improve their well-being. The findings were both disappointing and distressing.
Sea lions, for example, are kept in a tiny aquarium with very little room to move. This is a terrible situation for an animal that, in the wild, can dive up to 600 feet in the sea and swim faster than 25 miles per hour. The small aquarium housing penguins is equally small and depressing. Again, penguins travel massive distances in the wild, but at Langkawi they are packed into a tiny enclosure.
Lizards from around the world are kept in tiny glass vivariums and birds such as macaws and cockatoos have little space to move about.
Underwater World Langakawi is profiting from the exploitation and abuse of animals from around the world. In no way can what the centre is doing be described as conservation or education.
Rather than exploiting animals, Malaysia has the opportunity to focus on conservation and commit to helping endangered Malaysian wildlife. Yet there remains no commitment to raising awareness of the plight of Malaysian wildlife and working to conserve them. It is a particularly damning indictment that the Bornean orangutan was recently listed as critically endangered, joining the Sumatran orangutan on the critical endangered list. Instead exploitation of orangutans for monetary gain is taking place at the government-owned Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre and Semenggoh Wildlife Centre in Sabah and Sarawak, respectively.
Underwater World Langkawi exists only to profit from the suffering of animals in the same way that Safari Wonderland zoo in A’Famosa Resort Melaka profits from the exploitation of animals at the zoo.
Tourists can make a difference by avoiding places such as Underwater World Langkawi, A’Famosa Resort and Sepilok and choose instead to see animals in their natural habitat. Langkawi, for example, has a rich natural environment, including flying lemurs, the Sunda slow loris, long-tailed macaques, brahminy kite eagles, hornbills and abundant sea life.
Malaysian Friends of the Animals urges Malaysians and tourists alike to boycott Underwater World Langkawi and focus instead on understanding and appreciating Malaysia’s wildlife where it belongs – in the wild.
Jennifer Yeap is a representative of Malaysian Friends of the Animals.
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