Animals in captivity – whether they are elephants, orcas, dolphins, lions, or tigers – inevitably experience frustration, anger, and loneliness as a result of being unable to express their natural behaviors and tendencies.
Even though there are many zookeepers out there who genuinely wish to care for their animals, the simple fact of the matter is that for the captive creatures, not even the most well-built, spacious enclosure in the world can replicate the sensation of being free, and living in their natural habitats.
Sadly, there are other zoos out there who don’t even bother to care for their animals, but are instead deliberately cruel and neglectful.
One such zoo is Indonesia’s Surabaya Zoo, which has been dubbed “the zoo of death” and “the worst zoo in the world.” Since July 2013, over 105 animals have died here – many of them under very suspicious circumstances.
According to Discovery News, the litany of animal abuses at Surabaya Zoo include: the tragic death of an 18-month old male lion called Michael, who became entangled in a cable that was used to open and close his cage door; the failure to seek appropriate medical intervention for a female white tiger named Chandrika (who was suffering from a mouth infection), causing her to die of malnourishment; and the mysterious death of a komodo dragon just a few days ago. The zoo has also been hit by several reports of illegal animal transfers and financial irregularities in recent years.
The scale of abuses that have taken place here are so bad that even the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) – now under fire for turning a blind eye toward the atrocity of the dolphin hunt in Taiji – have expressed their concern. The organization has written two letters to Indonesia’s president Susilo Bamabang Yudhyono urging him to address the situation, but Indonesian authorities have been slow to respond.
Momentum is now building to have this “zoo of death” shut down for good, with a Change.org petition by Trevor Buchnan now standing at 191,138 supporters. Buchanan’s aim is to have the zoo shut down, the corrupt management team fired, and “reputable, qualified staff” hired in their place, to ensure that the animals are adequately cared for and, where possible, restored to their natural habitats.
Image Source: Ashwin Kumar/Flickr