‘Negligence’ Killed Zoo Animals in Surabaya
Amir Tedjo | August 27, 2010
Jakarta. An investigation into the recent spate of animal deaths at the Surabaya Zoo has found that negligent keepers were to blame in many of the cases, an official said on Friday.
In just a few weeks, the zoo in the capital of East Java has seen a number of animals die, including a Sumatran tiger, an African lion, a Komodo lizard, a babirusa cub, a wallaby, a Bawean deer and several birds.
The Surabaya Police and East Java Nature Conservation Office conducted the joint probe on the orders of the zoo’s interim management team, which was formed by the Forestry Ministry after the facility’s license was revoked earlier this month.
Tony Sumampauw, the head of the caretaker administration, said the Sumatran tiger and male lion died because of old age and bad health. The animals had difficulty exercising because of the “limitations of their cages,” he said.
But negligence by keepers has been cited in the death of at least three other animals — a babirusa cub, a wallaby and a Bawean deer, he added.
The cub was killed by an adult babirusa after it managed to find a hole into the latter’s enclosure, while the wallaby’s death was believed to have been caused by stress after an unfamiliar individual entered its cage.
“It is the wallaby’s natural trait that it is very prone to stress ... In this death, we suspect that someone else beside the keeper entered the cage and caused the stress that led it to ram the wall,” Tony said.
The keeper of the Bawean deer had failed to notify the zoo’s veterinarian when one of the beasts was discovered dying, he added.
Achmad Sachrozy, another member of the investigative team, said any keeper suspected of wrongdoing could face court.
“If it turns out that there is an element of intentionality, there are criminal articles that can be applied. But if the death is purely because of carelessness, the management will mete sanctions,” Sachrozy said.