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  • 08

Critically Endangered Sumatran Tiger Dead at Surabaya Zoo

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Tiger in zooSurabaya 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


  1. sam...
    May 8th, 2013, 10:23 pm

    please help me tell me exactly what to write in the letter to the embassy? please help please help

  2. John Moszyk...
    May 9th, 2013, 4:11 am

    Stop animal abuse.

  3. Brenda Ingraham...
    May 9th, 2013, 5:41 am

    Please stop this abuse and help these tigers. It is so inhumane to put them through this, please get them the care they need. No animal should have to suffer.

  4. Bridget Irons...
    May 9th, 2013, 5:49 am

    It is our responsibility to deal with all species with kindness, love and compassion. That animals suffer because of us is beyond understanding.

  5. Nelson Baker...
    May 9th, 2013, 6:31 am

    Protect the animals.

  6. Al...
    May 9th, 2013, 7:25 am

    Please protect these animals, they deserve much better.

  7. Dianne Douglas...
    May 9th, 2013, 11:17 am

    We can’t afford to loose one of these magnificent creatures. If you are unable to care for them, please give them to a sanctuary that can.

  8. Inge bjorkman...
    May 9th, 2013, 2:42 pm

    Let the wild animals be in the wild.
    Love and Peace

  9. marialoreto landi...
    May 9th, 2013, 4:08 pm


  10. Bea...
    May 9th, 2013, 5:24 pm

    How come a giraffe eat 20 kilograms of plastic? Save them

  11. raj neer...
    May 9th, 2013, 8:28 pm

    please stop animal cruelity..save them…god bless :)

  12. Jaime Alves...
    May 9th, 2013, 10:21 pm

    Stop abusing animals in Zoo’s.!!

  13. YRO VIAN...
    May 10th, 2013, 7:55 pm


  14. PETA Asia-Pacific...
    May 15th, 2013, 5:30 pm

    Hi Sam,
    You can send the following to your local Indonesian embassy or consulate. Thanks so much for your help!:
    I am upset and saddened after reading an article on Indonesia’s Surabaya Zoo. The article not only brought to light the unnecessary death of a rare tiger last month, but also suggests that another Sumatran tiger, a species that is critically endangered, may have to be euthanized also. These two tragedies are in no doubt due to the neglect, unfit conditions and lack of veterinary care at the zoo.
    The more research I did, the more bad news I discovered about the zoo and the fate of so many animals that have suffered and died there.
    I understand that the Indonesian Government took control of the zoo a few years ago. Please, as someone who is in an influential position, I beg you to improve the conditions at the zoo and save these poor, suffering animals from the same fate as Melani the tiger.

  15. PETA Asia-Pacific...
    May 15th, 2013, 5:30 pm

    The plastic is believed to have been thrown into the enclosure, the giraffe ingested it and then sadly died. You can help us to improve Indonesia’s animal protection laws by writing to your local embassy. Thank you for your concern and support.

  16. sam...
    May 28th, 2013, 8:18 am

    and when i go to the embassy who should i give the letter to ? and i am gonna send a printed letter in an envlope is that okay?

  17. PETA Asia-Pacific...
    June 3rd, 2013, 12:29 pm

    Hi Sam, that sounds great. The letter should be addressed to the Ambassador to Indonesia. Thanks so much for your help!

  18. sam...
    June 3rd, 2013, 7:29 pm

    i told the guy that guards the embassy to deliver the letter to the embassy is that good?

  19. PETA Asia-Pacific...
    June 5th, 2013, 11:55 am

    That’s great Sam! Thank you again for your continuing support!

  20. xxxx...
    June 18th, 2013, 4:31 am

    Helo, i’m from indonesia, please help the animal in surabaya. The zoo is worse. The facility is really below standart. And I think our goverment wont do anything if you only send a letter or anything like that. Because those stupid people doesnt care. Im truly sorry about this, I feel so embarrassed. please peta help those animals.

  21. Natalie Miller...
    June 20th, 2013, 11:46 pm

    I don’t understand how this could have gone on for so long! ? Why can’t someone go in and save these animals???? Is there anything other than writing a letter that I can do? Is it possible to buy food and take it to the zoo for the animals?

  22. Pao...
    June 21st, 2013, 2:44 am

    Write the US Embassy in INDONESIA at


  23. PETA Asia-Pacific...
    June 21st, 2013, 10:34 am

    Thank you very much for your message. We are aware of the unfortunate conditions the animals are subjected to at Surabaya Zoo, and we hope that with international pressure, the zoo will be forced to improve. After CNN did a piece about the atrocities occurring in Chinese zoos and theme parks, for example, the Chinese ambassador to the U.S. received thousands of letters, and authorities agreed to address some of these issues.

    June 26th, 2013, 9:35 am

    Surabaya zoo, and every zoo which is equally inhumane shouldn’t be improved. They should be closed down immediately and all animals sent to decent sanctuaries. It just isn’t good enough to warehouse animals. No animal should be caged. The Indonesian government obviously don’t care a toss for these animals. If they took over the running of the zoo then they should be ashamed of themselves. They’ve done nothing to help the situation. What can be done to get these lazy, uncaring politicians off their backsides? Peta please work to close them down, not to be improved.

  25. Ashley Fruno...
    June 28th, 2013, 3:58 pm

    Hi Natalie – from our knowledge of the situation, which we are working with local groups on, the tiger is not being starved. The animals at the zoo are being fed, but sadly a rare digestive disorder has caused the animal to become emaciated.

  26. deathcore...
    July 10th, 2013, 6:56 am

    here is the link to the petition,
    hopefully the link will work:


  27. rita castro...
    January 19th, 2014, 9:39 pm

    todo vuelve en esta vida

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