Thousands of animals face starvation at cesspit Indonesian zoo due to coronavirus and maybe forced to eat each other – The Sun
ENDANGERED Sumatran tigers and Bornean orangutans are among the thousands of animals facing starvation in Indonesia's zoos as keepers can no longer afford to feed them.
Coronavirus restrictions on tourism have had a devastating effect on zoos and animal parks in South East Asia, pushing them to collapse.
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60 shuttered animal parks that are home to around 70,000 creatures in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia have been closed since mid-March and most say they have only enough food until the middle of May.
Most zoos in the beautiful archipelago rely on ticket sales, so when they closed, along with the borders, everything collapsed.
Staff that are already hit by slashed wages and working hours are doing everything they can to keep their animals fed, including foraging and giving the zoo their own chickens and livestock.
This month, a German zoo director warned some animals might have to be sacrificed to feed others, and Indonesia's zoo association acknowledged a similar "worst-case scenario".
'RELY ON CREATIVITY TO SURVIVE'
Indonesian Zoo Association spokesman Sulhan Syafi'i said: "We've had to rely on creativity to survive.
"If a few more months pass and we don't get any aid from the government or other international organisations, then with a heavy heart we'll have to feed herbivores to the carnivores."
Zookeepers have taken up the task of collecting grass and plants to boost food stocks for giraffes and other herbivores.
Red-meat portions for tigers and other carnivores have been cut by supplementing their feed with poultry, which is "enough to extend the lifeline" for now.
Indonesia's zoos see 50 million annual visitors creating their fundamental source of revenue.
Some are eyeing drastic measures as they rely on public donations and appeal to the national government for emergency aid.
Syafi'i said: "We can put down wildlife that is not endemic to Indonesia.
"But for wildlife endemic to Indonesia, like Sumatran tigers, we must do whatever it takes to save them.
"It's sad, but at this point we need to start thinking about priorities."
In Thailand, some animal parks are relying on private donations to keep the creatures fed.
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Nantakorn Phatnamrob, owner of now-closed Chang Siam Park in Pattaya where tourists used to ride elephants, snap selfies with tiger cubs, and see snapping crocodiles, said: "Every private zoo is affected"
In Malaysia, the zoo association has appealed for funds to try and avoid drastic choices about which animals live or die.
Chairman of the Malaysian Association of Zoological Parks and Aquaria, Kevin Lazarus, said: "If the (shutdown) continues to June or July, there will be some problems.
"But we're not at that point yet. We're trying to mitigate so we don't come to that kind of scenario."
Southeast Asian zoos have a bad reputation for mistreating animals.
A chimpanzee was filmed riding around a Thai zoo on a bicycle spraying antiviral disinfectant in a hawaian shirt and face mask.
Elephants were also mistreated, starved and stabbed with sharp spikes at the same zoo near Bangkok, dubbed the worlds worst zoo.
Footage from 2017 also showed visitors to Bandung zoo, on the Indonesian island of Java, hurling cake, sweets and snacks at emaciated bears in a desperate attempt to feed them.
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