Thursday, June 11, 2009

Animal Instinct in the Zoo


Animals on the loose in Madagascar 2

A couple of months back, I went to the zoo with a friend. My initial plan was to participate in their tree planting campaign in conjunction with Earth Day. It was stated in Zoo Negara’s calendar. I called a week prior to my visit to enquire about it. To my chagrin I was informed that the event has been called off due to non-participant of sponsors for the trees (why hadn’t they updated the website for God’s sake). My intention to volunteer on the tree planting finally became a visit that was insightful to share here in this blog.

My last time to the zoo was somewhere in Year 2007 when I brought my ex-colleague from Royal Mulu Resort for a tour. At that time, our Zoo Negara still has its aquarium collections (though awfully in need of maintenance), which consisted of fresh water fish and they also had the penguins. Where did all these animals now? I wonder. I went to see the Orang Utan show as well. At that time they had huge collection of monkeys. Hmm… why did I call the animals in the zoo as ‘collection’? Animals are not supposed to be a collection. They are species that need the same humane attention, tender care love and affection. Above all, we need to respect them. They have feelings so therefore, they can feel pain and they get hurt too.

Okay, forget about collection. There are many types of fish comprising tropical species and many types of snakes during my previous visit. The dwindling numbers of monkeys in the cages and even the snakes makes me so upset. Existing few that they have now were like impoverished, very sad and depressed looking. All the animals were looking like that! E.g. the sun bears, the Orang Utans, the chimpanzees, the cougar and the leopard. Thank God, the lions and tigers were well fed and looking fine if not bored. It makes me think, for the sake of education, we enclosed these animals against their will. How does that impact their lives? Huhuhu… I am thorn in between the right and the wrong of these animals living in captivity.

My heart aches. It reminds of Madagascar, the cartoon. How the Penguins lead the animals to flee the zoo.

Living in a place that is out of their natural habitat some of the animals shown signs of depression. No matter how much I tried to console my self that the zoo keepers are giving their best to sustain the animals in the most comfortable condition, I still feel sceptical about our zoo’s capabilities. In my opinion, Taiping Zoo fare better than our National Zoo. Not to mention, Singapore Zoo. It’s so far off to even compare! Huhuhu…

Looking around, the surrounding areas, obviously Zoo Negara was doing some kind of upgrading which was good. They had new trams driving visitors around the zoo which is commendable. There was some construction going on which I wonder what it’s all about since it’s like abandoned and no one was doing any work. What a messy scene. An eyesore to us, visitors.

The Safari was a sad thing as tall grasses left uncut, mosses found on the cemented floor, and it’s so disorganised. The Giraffes, Zebras and Rhinos, all looking like they were out of place. The theme ‘Safari’ did not meet up to the name. You just didn’t get the feel of it. Imagine what the animals had to suffer! Ahh!

I made some kind of summation in my head. Do we need the zoo or not. And the weight falls to YES we need the ZOO for the sake of education for our city folks who had never been to the jungle, who had never seen those animals from different parts of the world. But at least we need to make these animals live as comfortable as possible in exchange of them being caged and displayed for us human being, the caliph of this world.

The easiest to understand animals was from our own pets like cats or dogs for instance. They need to be treated like our family. Every cats and dogs are special with their own personality just like humans. They need, tender loving care. If not, cats and dogs will go into depression or behaviour disorder. Have you seen a depressed cat or dog? Well I have. And I hate people who tortured animals! I think, they will go to HELL.

Back to Zoo Negara, the issue now is obviously that they do not have enough financial aid from the government and the full support from the public itself. The entrance fees of RM15 (adults), RM6 (golden citizen and children below 12) and the tram ride for RM3 per round for me was reasonable for the upkeep of the zoo. Being a caring society, please support our zoo.

I’ve seen a lot of write ups been published by our local media to promote the zoo. Kudos to our good reporters. Keep up the support. The only thing now is for the management of Zoo Negara to look into matters pertaining their human capitals and quality deliverance of services. During peak season like school holidays, they need to have enough staffing to handle big crowds and to ensure good customer service to attract people to come back. Good products and good customer service come hand in hand. These should be looked into seriously. Hire passionate and experienced people to be in the front liner such as the PR and Event side. This is vital for the image of the zoo as it has been scrutinised by the public lately.

Oh dear, I am not in the position to tell people what to do. I love our zoo and hope it will fare well in the future and get to achieve its goal of becoming a world class zoo. Amin…

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