Surabaya Zoo has once again entered the spotlight after the death of a Sumatran tiger, while another lies near death in critical condition. Sumatran tigers are one of the world’s most endangered species, with only around 500 remaining. Rozek, a 13-year-old male, died after suffering for years from an undiagnosed digestive problem. The female, Melani, is in critical condition and is suffering from the same ailment.
Melani’s weight has dropped to less than 60 kilograms, far below the normal range for healthy tigers, and her condition is believed to be a direct result of gross neglect and inadequate veterinary care—issues all too common at Surabaya Zoo. For five years, her health slowly deteriorated and her weight decreased—eventually leaving her unable to digest food at all—yet no proper action has been taken to help her.
Rozek and Melani are far from the first animals to have suffered at the hands of Surabaya Zoo. In 2012, a giraffe died after ingesting almost 20 kilograms of plastic. PETA has long advocated for the closure of this decrepit facility and the transfer of the animals to more suitable locations. In 2010, after a global outcry regarding the deplorable conditions of the zoo, the government took control of the facility, but little has changed in this time.
Melani and Rozek were both part of a breeding program claiming to help protect these tigers from extinction, but their heartbreaking story is a clear example of how breeding programs fail animals in a big way. Animals in zoos are exploited, abused, traded, and sold—all to make a profit. Warehousing animals in zoos for their entire lives is not the way to save them from extinction. Protecting natural habitats is the only way to help save endangered animals. Pledge to boycott zoos today and help make sure that more animals do not have to suffer.
Please also write to your nearest Indonesian embassy or consulate and ask them to do everything possible to strengthen and create better animal protection laws. A list of embassies and consulates can be found here.
Posted by Edwina Baier