DISTASTEFUL and cruel — that is what Malaysian Animal Association president Arie Dwi Andika says about a clip uploaded to Instagram by a vacation resort showing a python feeding on a live rabbit.
The one-minute clip, which showed the snake trapping the rabbit before coiling around it to eat it, sparked anger among netizens and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
Arie said the clip should not have been recorded and uploaded for public viewing.
“As a civilised society, we cannot use an animal’s suffering as a form of entertainment.”A check by StarMetro on the resort’s Instagram account showed the account owner saying the clip was no different to what’s filmed for an animal documentary.
Arie, however, did not have the same opinion.“A documentary shows the animals in their natural habitat, where they roam free and are able to flee or defend themselves.
“This clip showed a man-made environment and the rabbit was unable to flee from its predator,” he said.
Arie worried the clip would desensitise the public to animal suffering and encourage other resorts to use the same method to attract visitors.
He said a licence to exhibit was needed before anyone could showcase wildlife to the public and that the Instagram posting should count as an exhibit.
The resort manager, when contacted, said the snake, named Ratnasari, was a Burmese python breed weighing 80kg and measuring 16ft long.
He explained that there were two types of snakes — “wild catch” and “captive breed”.
“Captive breed creatures are wild animals born in captivity while the wild catch are caught in the wild,” he added.
He said unlike their captive breed counterparts, wild catch snakes do not eat frozen or dead meat.
Ratnasari is a wild catch.
He added that Ratnasari feeds once every two weeks and eats five live rabbits.
“Once a month, she is fed a small live goat to ensure she receives sufficient protein,” he said.He said the resort had a licence to keep wildlife.
“We only uploaded the clip for educational purposes.
“It is just natural for a snake to feed on a live rabbit,” he added.
Arie contested the use of the word “natural”.
“In nature, snakes catch their prey while the prey either attempt to defends itself or flee.
“There is nothing natural about a wild snake being held in captivity while being fed a live rabbit it does not need to hunt for.”
Selangor Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) director Abd Rahim Othman told StarMetro there were no regulations against posting videos of wild animals feeding in such a manner.