Surabaya Zoo, also known as Kebun Binatang Surabaya (KBS), was founded in 1916 and is the one of the largest zoos in South East Asia, covering 37 acres and housing over 350 species. The zoo has fallen into disrepute over the last few years with widespread allegations of mistreatment, corruption, and uncontrolled breeding. Many of the animals cared for at KBS live in pitiable conditions, some are highly endangered species. This must stop.
The Zoo states there are 2,800 animals living there, other reports put the number at closer to 4,000. The mistreatment of the animals started to attract widespread condemnation in 2010. In that year, the Jakarta Post labelled KBS as the Surabaya "Zoo of Death". In the same year the Forestry Ministry revoked Surabaya Zoo’s license after many animal deaths including rare species such as Sumatran tigers, Komodo Dragons, lions and crocodiles.
East Java Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) conducted an investigation, which found that negligent keepers were to blame for most of the animal deaths. It is alleged that zookeepers are stealing meat which they sell to the black market. Also that animals are being stolen by the zookeepers and also sold.
The zoo does not have the cashflow needed to feed, house and breed the animals in it's care. Entry is less than US$2.00 per person. It does not generate enough. Subsequently, the animals are maltreated and underfed. The zoo is unable to separate breeding animals, so breeding is out of control. For example, nearly 200 pelicans inhabit a filthy enclosure the size of a basketball court. They do not have the room to move their wings.
A giraffe that died that was found to have an 18kg ball of plastic in it's stomach, It had been living off food thrown to it by vistors, such as candy bars, which often still had the wrapper on it.
Tigers are kept locked in small concrete cells because they do not have enough room to exercise. They are allowed out of their damp cells for only 3 days for every 10 they are locked up. Some animals have chronic long term back and leg complaints because they cannot exercise. Many have wasting digestive diseases from eating tainted meat.
Some animals are being moved and their condition is improving, however even during their movement they are still being abused by KBS staff. When the zoo relocated several hippopotami, the animals were physically beaten and injured during the process.
We call on the honourable President, Dr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, to mandate the following 5 actions immediately:
1) Close Surabaya zoo permanently and dismiss the management. Hire reputable, qualified staff to engage in the immediate care of the animals.
2) Increase funding and security to ensure all animals receive the proper diet, and medical attention necessary.
3) For any animal where rehabilitation is feasible to the point where the animal could survive in the wild, rehabilitation must take place under the direction of qualified experts, so that they can be released back into the wild.
4) Any animals with incurable, degenerative conditions, and that are in significant pain must be humanely euthanized based on the recommendation of veterinary experts.
5) Commission an enquiry with the view to identify the causes of the conditions and the zoo, and the prosecution of those responsible for the state of the animals.
Please act - the world is watching.