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Published: Tuesday June 25, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Tuesday June 25, 2013 MYT 9:14:26 AM

The animals are suffering, too

JOHOR BARU: Animals at the Johor Zoo here are experiencing fatigue and becoming increasingly thirsty due to the haze.

Its head zookeeper Sham Mahdon said the animals had been drinking more water for the past few days.

“We noticed the birds were uncomfortable in their cages due to the heat. So to cool their bodies, we have been giving them daily showers for the past few days,” he said, adding that the zoo had 185 birds from 52 species.

Sham said some animals, especially tigers and lions, had also been spotted resting in shady areas.

The zoo has 424 animals, including 82 reptiles and 157 mammals.

Should the haze worsen, Sham said he would request the state government to close the zoo to ensure the health of both its workers and visitors.

The number of visitors to the zoo has dropped since the haze struck.

Marketing executive Shahnizam Kasim, 24, said he checked the Air Pollutant Index (API) reading for Johor Baru before visiting the zoo with his wife and two-year-old son.

“My son insisted we come to the zoo because he loves animals. We visit the zoo every other weekend,” said Shahnizam, whose child wore a face mask.

Clerk Maggie Sim, 33, said she visited the zoo to check on the condition of the animals after the haze hit unhealthy levels.

“I’m happy the zookeepers are doing all they can to keep the animals from falling sick,” she said.

Meanwhile, in Kuala Lumpur, Zoo Negara workers were seen spraying emus with water to keep them cool.

The number of visitors has also declined due to the haze, recording a 40% drop from 3,147 people on June 16 to 1,762 on Sunday.

However, many people were seen walking around the zoo without face masks.

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