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Surabaya Zoo struggles to revive after protracted disputes

  • Indra Harsaputra

    The Jakarta Post

Surabaya | Mon, November 30, 2015 | 06:05 pm
Surabaya Zoo struggles to revive after protracted disputes Better off: Pelicans in their cage at Surabaya Zoo, East Java. After years of bitter management conflict, the zoo is struggling to improve its vast collection’s wellbeing. (JP/Indra Harsaputra) (JP/Indra Harsaputra)

Better off:  Pelicans in their cage at Surabaya Zoo, East Java. After years of bitter management conflict, the zoo is struggling to improve its vast collection'€™s wellbeing. (JP/Indra Harsaputra)

After an era of managerial conflict, the Surabaya Zoo (KBS) in East Java has started to show some improvement in its maintenance of animal welfare, local residents and regular visitors have said.

Elita Novriana, 29, a Surabaya resident, said she was happy that the zoo'€™s environment looked much better today compared to last year.

'€œI rarely find scattered garbage. The water ditches in the animal cages also look clear and the cages are in good condition,'€ Elita told The Jakarta Post after visiting the zoo with her family on Friday.

Haryaningsih, a teacher at a local junior high school, shared a similar observation.

Haryaningsih also expressed hope that KBS would continue to improve its facilities so that the zoo could become a high-quality and affordable educational venue for students.

KBS'€™ supervisory board chief Heri Purwanto said the zoo mainly relied on support from the city'€™s budget and CSR funds from private companies to help cover its annual operational deficit, which stands at around Rp 5 billion (US$363,500).

The zoo management, according to Heri, will nonetheless prioritize its operational budget to maintain good animal welfare standards and improve facilities for visitors.

'€œFor example, we are currently building water sanitation and waste treatment facilities that we expect to complete within two or three years,'€ he said on Saturday.

Established in 1916 in the East Java provincial capital of Surabaya, the 15-hectare KBS is one of the country'€™s largest and oldest zoos.

Located in Surabaya'€™s downtown district, the zoo offers visitors the chance to escape to a forest-like environment, a welcome distraction from a cityscape typically defined by malls, apartments and skyscrapers.

With entry tickets at Rp 15,000 per person, the venue has become a favored destination for people in Surabaya and in neighboring regions.

In the last few years, KBS, however, has struggled with management tensions, allegedly resulting in the death of many of its animals.

The zoo gained local and international public attention in 2012 following the death of many of the animals in its collection. In one example, up to 20 kilograms of plastic was found in the stomach of a giraffe named Kliwon, who had died in his stall.

In response to the problem, an online petition calling for the zoo'€™s closure was soon initiated and obtained more than 100,000 signatures.

Last year, then Surabaya mayor Tri Rismaharini filed a report with the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) accusing the former management of KBS of graft and gross mismanagement.

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