The Jakarta Post
The Indonesian Zoo Association (PKBSI) has estimated that at least 22,000 zoo workers across the archipelago may lose their livelihoods because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
PKBSI secretary-general Tony Sumampau said the estimate was based on the total number of workers employed in zoos across the country. He went on to say that some workers, including security guards, cleaning service personnel and ticketing staff, had been told to take unpaid leave.
“Those who are still working are the zookeepers, who feed the animals [in captivity],” Tony said as quoted by kompas.com on Monday.
He added the zookeepers had continued feeing about 70,000 animals from 4,300 species kept in captivity, although food stocks for these animals had also been depleting.
To cushion the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, the association had begun an internal fund-raising initiative among members. The PKBSI had also sent a letter to President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo asking for government assistance.
Tony, however, said the association did not know when the help would come.
The PKBSI is also running an online fund-raising campaign called Food for Animals. It is seeking funds to improve the living conditions of animals in zoos, especially those endemic to the country, such as the Sumatran tiger, Bornean orangutan and Sumatran elephant.
A survey conducted by the association last month showed that 92 percent of the association’s members in Sumatra, Java, Bali, Lombok and Borneo, or 55 zoos, only had enough stock to feed their animals until mid-May.
The survey also found that only three zoos would be able to provide food for one to three months, while only two had enough for more than three months. (asp)