The loss of excellence in our country has not only affected the civil services , the universities and institutions, the average Malaysians, but it has also affected our animals.
Zoo Negara used to be one of my favourite places to visit in the 80s, when my chidlren were young. At that time, the roads were narrow and to travel from PJ to Ulu Klang was quite an outing, and a visit to the Zoo with my children would be a one day affairs. But normally all of us would enjoy the trip very much.
FOr the past few years, I have not been to our zoo. But whenever we have a chance to visit SIngapore, we normally would try to find time to visit the Singapore Zoo, and also the Night Safari. It was always a pleasure to see how professionally the zoo in Singapore was run, and how the animals there seem to enjoy themsleves.
I am not sure whether we started our Zoo first or Singapore started theirs first. Most probably these zoos were started around the same time.
But from what friends told me, Zoo Negara was no longer like before. One of the former staff who is also my friends told me that the zoo is facing financial problems, since most of the maintenance funds depend on the public donations and adoption of animals by pirvate corporations.
So it was not really surprising that I read about the poor conditions of Zoo Negara in the NST yesterday.
According to the reports, the Singapore based Animal Concerns Research and Education Society) or Acres has discovered ” that the enclosures of at least 10 types of animals at Zoo Negara failed to meet international standards”. Also the observation that “a female elephant was observed begging for food,” .
According to SAM (Sahabat ALam Malaysia), Zoo Negara should find out the cause of death of “18 out of 20 penguins sourced from Singapore, pygmy hippopotamus, cheetah from Africa and Bawean Deer from Indonesia.
Zoo Negara should, instead of trying to acquire more animals, concentrate on the existing animals and provide them with proper care and attention. It should try to consolidate and limit its inventory according to its resources.
Perhaps the government should give more allocation to help. A lot of people, especially those from below poverty line may argue that allocation should be given to poor human first. I agree totally.
If only corruption is brought to a manageble levels, there will be enough funds to cater for those people living below poverty lines, as well as give certain allocation to Zoo Negara for its maintenace. No zoo in the world can probably survive on gate collections alone.
This is another ‘tidak apa’ story typical of so many in Malaysia. The culture of mediocrity is now fast becoming the Culture of Rots.
I feel sad because this is a place that can provide an escape for the urban folks, a place for family outings and unwindings, as well as for education purposes . I would not even mention research, because if the zoo cannot even keep its animals in good health, I doubt whether there will be any manpower or skill to do animal research, like what many great zoos in the world is doing.