We are currently surveying zoos and wildlife parks across Malaysia, mostly looking to see if they conform with a law that was placed on the statute books five years ago.
Without exception, none so far are meeting the standards laid down in the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010. Most have made no attempt to.
We still see appalling cruelty, grossly out of date zoos and enclosures, management and keepers who appear to not have a clue or a care about the needs of the birds and animals in their possession.
We also see ‘shows’ which encourage the illegal trade in wildlife.
All of which gets reported to the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan), the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry (NRE) and zoo owners.
One example: A few weeks ago we reported Cave Villa Reptile Zoo. A particularly unpleasant place which is really a bad pet shop masquerading as a zoo.
We have been reporting on Cave Villa Reptile Zoo for years, and yet Perhilitan still permit it to remain open and this is a travesty of justice - a total abdication of the Perhilitan director-general’s responsibility to the government and the public.
Five long years of animals suffering more abuse in Malaysian zoos because Perhilitan fails to enforce the law. Not only that, the director-general, Rashid Samsudin, continues to permit the public to be put at great risk from elephants and tigers at the A Famosa Wild Animal Park.
The responsibility for this breakdown in law and order sits squarely on the shoulders of Perhilitan’s director-general.
If you care about wildlife and want to avoid being upset by seeing cruelty inflicted on animals, the best advice we can give you is to stay away from zoos and safari parks.
They are only after your money.
SEAN WHYTE is CEO, Nature Alert.