SEPANG: Zoos and wildlife sanctuaries have until August to clean up their act or face closure.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah Embas said new guidelines for zoos were imposed in February and those that did not meet the guidelines on the treatment of animals would have to shut down.
"We have given the operators a six-month grace period to upgrade the zoos, so it will be enforced in August," he told reporters adding that the ministry was carrying out audits now.
Embas was responding to claims from non-governmental organisations that the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 had not yet been properly enforced.
"The Act is enforced, it is just that the guidelines and regulations for zoos has to be finalised," he told a press conference after delivering the keynote address at the National Biodiversity Centre's Stakeholder Consultation Workshop on Tuesday.
There are currently 44 zoos nationwide.
The Act includes stiffer penalties for poaching and other wildlife-related crimes, punishment for wildlife cruelty and unlicensed zoo operstors.
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