Giuseppe Inglima, Franklin & Marshall College
BANDUNG, Indonesia. Imagine taking your children to the zoo on a beautiful day, and once you arrive, you encounter skeleton-like animals covered in mud, so hungry that they are willing to eat their own feces. Welcome to the Kebun Binatang Bandung Zoo.
The Bandung zoo has a history of mistreating animals, including starving sun bears, muddy enclosures, and a cigarette-smoking orangutan named Tori. This is not a place where animals are treated with respect, and it deserves to be shut down.
Public outcry has gone viral when video clips were uploaded by the Scorpion Wildlife Trade Monitoring Group of the zoo’s sun bears frantically begging for food from visitors.
A link to the video can be found here
These bears resemble starving children, with outstretched arms in the hopes that a passerby will throw them the remains of their lunch.
What is so outrageous is that a representative for zoo director Yayasan Margasatwa Tamansari told the public…
“The animals here have enough food supplies. Does being thin mean being unhealthy or not having enough food? On the other hand, looking fat does not mean an animal is healthy.”
Surely this man has not seen the actual state of the animals, because even somebody that is not an expert on animal care can tell when one is starving. Are the exposed ribcages not enough for these bears to get more food?
The sun bears have to rely on park visitors to throw bit and pieces of snacks into their enclosures, most of the time it being junk food.
Animals have just as much of a right to be fed as humans do, and it is horrific that Indonesia allows this type of treatment in so many of its zoos.
If Bandung Zoo does not have the funds to adequately care for their animals, then it is just a holding center for these animals to waste away.
What kind of life is it to lie in nothing but mud, starving, with no energy to roam in your already-small enclosure?
If nothing is done to help the bears, they will have the same fates as many of the zoo’s past animals, like Yani, the Sumatran elephant, who died crying, shackled in chains, or one of the giraffes that died suddenly and was found to have 40lbs of plastic trash in its stomach.
What this zoo needs, as well as its animals, is for the President of Indonesia to enforce the law and shut down Bandung, relocating the animals to conservation and sanctuary centers where they would finally receive proper care.
Petition to shut down Bandung Zoo is here
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