Perhilitan officers fail to find evidence of animal abuse in zoo

PETALING JAYA: Officers from the Terengganu Department of Wild­life and National Parks (Perhili­tan) conducted a field check on the Kemaman Zoo following reports of animal abuse and neglect.

In a statement, Perhilitan director-general Datuk Abdul Kadir Abu Hashim said the check was carried out on Thursday.

Several environmental groups recently shared photographs, supposedly taken by “disgruntled” zoo staff, showing, among others, orang utan being kept in tiny cages and a chained elephant calf left in the rain.

The photographs as well as an article highlighting allegations of deaths of various animals also came out on an environmental blog.

Abdul Kadir said the inspection showed that the baby orang utan was being kept in an enclosure away from its mother as the mother was being treated in November.

“The baby orang utan was also un­­der treatment. Our checks show­ed that it was placed in a large enclosure with facilities such as tyres and ropes for enrichment purposes.

“As of now, both are still under follow-up treatment,” said Abdul Kadir, who did not, however, specify the type of treatment.

On allegations of the chained calf, the department said the inspection found that the elephant involved was actually a healthy adult.

“It is being placed temporarily in its old enclosure until upgrading work to its new enclosure is completed. The elephant is chained to ensure that it does not wander off from the area and pose a danger to visitors and zoo staff.

“Pictures of the tiger highlighted in the blog were that of the animal in its night stall. The size of the enclosure is in accordance with rules and guidelines,” said Abdul Kadir.

Allegations of animal deaths, which supposedly involved a tapir, a sun bear and a gibbon, were also found not to be true, the statement said.

The department said a tapir had died in 2016 due to pulmonary edema and pulmonary congestion.

“However, there are no recorded deaths of a sun bear and a gibbon. The sun bear involved has been placed in a new enclosure since October last year while the gibbon is on the Gibbon Island and still alive,” it said.

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