Zoo defends conditions following video of sun bears begging for food

Arya Dipa

The Jakarta Post

Bandung

Jakarta, posted: Wed, January 18, 2017 | 09:53 pm

Sun bears seen in their enclosure at Bandung Zoo in Bandung, West Java, on Wednesday. The zoo has been criticized after a YouTube video showed sun bears at the zoo begging for food from visitors.(JP/Arya Dipa)

Bandung Zoo is under heavy criticism following a video on YouTube showing sun bears at the zoo apparently begging visitors for food.

The same zoo came under fire last year when a Sumatran elephant, Yani, died after being sick for a week without receiving proper medical treatment. The zoo at the time did not have any in-house vet.

Sudaryo, a spokesman for the zoo’s operator, Yayasan Margasatwa Tamansari, on Wednesday said looking thin did not mean the animals were unhealthy. “Does being thin mean being unhealthy or not having enough food? On the other hand, looking fat does not mean an animal is healthy.”

The video grabbed the public’s attention after UK website dailymail.co.uk  published an article earlier this month based on the footage, which was uploaded to YouTube by Scorpion Wildlife Monitoring in May last year.

The video focused especially on a sun bear that looks thin and seems to be begging visitors for peanuts and fruits.

Sudaryo said he did not take the video seriously. “The animals here have enough food supplies, if you want to help, get in touch with us directly,” he said.

(Read also: Massive suffering)

Tony Sumampau, the secretary general of the Indonesia Zoo Association, said Wednesday that he had visited Bandung zoo and found the animals there were healthy in general. “The carnivores are even too fat,” he said.

Tony said he saw one sun bear in May that looked thin. “But it was an old bear. I visited again recently and did not see the old bear,” he said.

Scorpion Wildlife Monitoring uploaded a new video this month, but the thin sun bear was not seen.

The zoo operator employs two in-house vets since July, after the Forestry and Environment Ministry threatened to revoke its license. (evi)

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