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Jakarta Post
The Jakarta Post
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Ragunan animals to get one day off

  • Corry Elyda

    The Jakarta Post

| Sat, November 16, 2013 | 07:57 am

In a bid to ensure the welfare of animals at Ragunan Zoo, the management has decided to close every Monday to give the animals a day of rest.

Ragunan Zoo spokesperson Wahyudi said zoo workers and veterinarians would therefore be better able to focus on taking care of the animals on the day of closure.

'€œIt will also decrease the stress level of the animals due to visitors'€™ voices and disturbances,'€ he told The Jakarta Post recently.

Wahyudi said the city administration was working on the legal basis for the day of closure, which had been recommended at a public hearing.

'€œWe hope we can implement it as soon as possible,'€ he said.

Business tycoon Hashim Djojohadikusumo, who recently took over as chief supervisor, recently recommended that the management give the animals a day off by closing once a week.

'€œThe task given [to supervisors] by Jakarta Governor Joko '€˜Jokowi'€™ Widodo is to optimize Ragunan Zoo as a conservation center,'€ he said.

He added that it was important to protect the animals so as to maintain their well-being.

'€œA day off will be good not only for the animals'€™ mental health but it will also allow carers to pay extra attention to the animals,'€ he said.

Hashim said giving the animals a day of rest was the least the zoo could to improve the facility.

He said the zoo management planned to tackle 12 projects, including filtering dirty water from the 6.8 hectare lake, fixing the cinema, improving electronic security devices and maintaining fences.

Jakarta Animal Aid Network (JAAN) founder Femke Den Haas welcomed the idea, saying that it would be good for the animals, especially because Ragunan Zoo had a long way to go before it could be considered a good zoo.

Den Haas said many enclosures at Ragunan were not comfortable for the animals.

'€œSome animals, like the orangutans, do not have the opportunity to get out of their cages as the enclosures are too small,'€ she said.

She said the distance between visitors and the fence or glass was also too narrow and could cause the animals stress.

She also expressed concern about the behavior of visitors, some of whom yell and throw food, plastic bottles or even stones at the animals.

'€œA baby orangutan drowned in the small river in front of its enclosure when trying to catch food thrown by a visitor at Ragunan Zoo in South Jakarta last Lebaran,'€ she said.

Den Haas said there was much work to be done to improve the zoo, such as providing information at every enclosure to educate visitors about the animals.

Den Haas said the 147-hectare Ragunan was the second biggest zoo in the world and was spacious enough for appropriate enclosures to be built for the animals.

She said that for the sake of the zoo and its animals, she hoped the city administration would be more open to help and assistance offered by private entities or non-governmental organizations.