UPDATE ON THIS STORY:Indonesia’s Largest Zoo Morphing Into Endangered Animal Cemetery
The Forestry Ministry has taken over management of Surabaya Zoo on Friday following the death of hundreds of animals, including endangered species such as a Sumatran tiger. The ministry set up a new team to take over day-to-day operations of the 15-hectare zoo, which is one of the largest in Southeast Asia and in Indonesia.
“We were forced to take over the management because no improvement has made since early this year,” Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan said at a press conference Friday. He said the previous management by a group of so-called animal lovers failed to meet government-set management standards, leading to the deaths of 689 animals between 2008 and 2009.
“Since February this year, 26 animals including a Sumatran tiger and a lion died of old age and poor facilities,” he said.
Surabaya Zoo is home to 4,200 animals from 315 species. Most of the deaths were due to various illnesses such as pneumonia, enteritis and malnutrition and the poor facilities at the zoo. The new management run by the Forestry Ministry and the Surabaya city administration will be headed by Tony Sumampau, the chairman of the Indonesian Zoo Association. The team is required to submit quarterly reports to the Forestry Ministry.
The ministry also gave the new management authority to recruit professional staff to manage the zoo. Asked about financing to restore the zoo, Zulkifli said “we will continue to welcome the support of the private sector”.
The government has not set a budget to manage Surabaya Zoo, which was built in 1932 by Dutch animal lovers. The Forestry Ministry upgraded the status of the Surabaya Zoo as an ex-situ conservation organization
A 2006 ministerial decree, however, outlawed groups of individuals from managing zoos. Since then, internal conflicts have deepened with zoo executives Stany Soebakir and Basuki Rekso Wibowo claiming to be the zoo administrator. They each proposed permits to manage the site. The conflict peaked in 2007 when Basuki referred to the sale of rare animals, including lions and white tigers, during Stany’s tenure. Stany denied the allegations. Stany was replaced by Basuki in 2009 but Stany’s supporters insist he was the rightful zoo administrator. Tony said Surabaya Zoo was old and needed extensive renovation if the government wanted to save the animals in the zoo.
“The zoo must be totally restored and that, of course, would require a lot of money,” he told The Jakarta Post. The zoo rakes in more than Rp 1 billion in profit annually. Last year, it earned some Rp 1.1 billion. The government has been under pressure to intervene following the deaths of endangered species such as tigers and orangutans. The animals are endangered primarily due to habitat loss and poaching.
Indonesia previously had three tiger sub-species, of which the Bali and Javan tigers were declared extinct in the 1940s and 1980s. The government aims to double the Sumatran tiger population to 800 by 2022 and has allocated US$175 million for tiger conservation programs.
READ MORE ABOUT THIS ZOO AT: http://www.globalanimal.org/2010/08/23/hey-indonesia-get-a-clue/11463/