Time to act on animals in captivity

  • Lifestyle
  • Sunday, 27 May 2012

THE Star2 feature titled Facelift for zoos (Ecowatch, April 24) is a reminder to all that the time has come for wildlife issues in Malaysia be taken seriously.

It is the change of attitude of Malaysians towards the welfare of domestic and wild animals that has led to serious questions being asked of the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry, and Perhilitan.

It is refreshing to see changes being made to the law. Many zoos are in need of a wake-up call. But what remains to be seen is if enforcement is taken seriously.

Based on previous issues highlighted to the ministry and Perhilitan and those which remain unreplied and unresolved, it is only fair to say we have to wait and see if the new law is respected by all zoo operators and those which do not are closed and never given a second chance.

Friends of the orangutan are still waiting for action to be taken against A’Formosa Resort in Malacca for keeping eight of those creatures – which is wrong, going even by humane terms, let alone the law. There is no way the orangutan should be let back into the Animal World Safari at the resort.

We also urge the ministry and Perhilitan to conduct more activities to increase awareness of wild animals, starting with school-goers. Youth is the future and they need to be told they have an important role to play in the conservation of wild animals.

As for the issue of permits for new zoos, we feel it is unnecessary for new zoos to open when most of the existing ones still openly break the new Wildlife Conservation Act, and we are only three months away from the end of the grace period!

The majority of zoos in Malaysia focus only on profit and there is little or zero educational value. If new permits are allowed, more precious animals will end up with miserable lives.

Upreshpal Singh Gombak, Kuala Lumpur

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