Malaysiakini Letter

Deafening silence on the chimp allegedly shot dead in Langkawi

Arjunan Rawichandran  |  Published:  |  Modified:

LETTER | Earlier this month a website reported that a chimpanzee was shot dead in a new zoo in Langkawi. This was apparently revealed by the same organisation exposing wrongdoings by zoos across the country. Since then, the Wildlife Department have been deafeningly silent.

Usually, when any profit-making entity in Malaysia is exposed for abuse of animals, Wildlife Department are quick to make media statements to comment on the accusations, often denying abuse and mistreatment of animals.

Take for example the recent news of eye-watering treatment of our Malaysian animals at Kemaman Zoo in Terengganu. It was heartbreaking to see how our elephants, tigers and orangutans are being treated. Photos do not lie.

The Wildlife Department called the abuse a "misunderstanding" instead of demanding that Kemaman Zoo increase its level of care for their animals.

Since 2016 organisations from around the world have been demanding for the freedom of Lasah the elephant, also in Langkawi. The Wildlife Department said Langkawi Elephant Adventures complies with guidelines.

No comment on the welfare of the poor elephant, and nothing on it working for human profit for more than 20 years. More than half a million people including celebrities want Lasah to be freed.

It's amazing, because the Wildlife Department are the people who are paid by the government to protect animals. And if our wildlife guidelines allows for elephants to be poorly treated then they must be changed.

So why is the department silent on the accusations of a chimp shot dead in the Langkawi zoo? Is it because the accusations are correct? The zoo recently claimed on their social media that the chimp reportedly shot dead had actually died of kidney failure.

However, neither Perhilitan nor the zoo have denied the accusations that the chimp was shot dead. The Malaysian public deserve to know the truth.

Back in December, before the chimp was shot dead, another online news portal reported that while the chimp was alive she and two other chimps were living in a cage since 2015. No denial on the accusations by department then either.

Again, why not? Was there any action taken? Are the accusations true or false, and if they are false, the Wildlife Department needs to provide evidence and start protecting animals.

The public demands answers and justice, and if the chimp was shot dead the Wildlife Department needs to come clean and take action on the zoo.

The company which owns the Langkawi zoo wants to open even more zoos. I say enough of zoos.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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