A 40-pound ball of trash in a giraffe's stomach. A tiger with a missing ear and a spinal problem so bad that he can't stand. Pelicans packed so tightly together in one cage that they can't stretch their wings out. This is just a glimpse of the abuse and uncleanliness of the Surabaya Zoo in Indonesia. It is estimated that 25 of their 4,000 animals die every month prematurely. Why? First of all, their cages are packed too tightly. Second, their cages are just as dirty as they are packed. Third, many of the animals eat trash and litter that guests leave on the ground because nobody ever cleans it up. And fourth, their breeding program is non-existent. The animals reproduce at a high rate, but most of the offspring die. It's a mess.
The zoo has way too many tigers, as well; a result of uncontrolled breeding. Their 16 tigers, more than half of which are Sumatran, are sickly or emaciated, kept in long concrete cages where they don't get enough exercise. A rare white tiger suffers from skin lesions. Kliwon, a 30-year-old giraffe, died after ingesting over 40 pounds of trash. I hope I'm not the only one disgusted by the horrible care these lovely, rare creature are receiving. How can people be so thoughtless?
But let's face it. Indonesia isn't regulated with the health and safety standards that we are in the United States. Plus, there's the fact that the Head of the National Zoo Association in Indonesia is a massive Big Game Hunter. You heard right. He's hunted so many animals that he mounts his trophies on a wall in a Medan museum. So maybe the oversight in the Surabaya Zoo is a little easier to understand. But it certainly doesn't make it any less abhorrent.
Image credit: Tobias Akerboom (at hutmeelz)