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A Story About Surabaya Zoo of Indonesia

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Picture this- you live the first few years of your life happy with your family. You live in a nice house, your family is healthy, and you have a nice community of people around you. Then, out of nowhere, you are captured. You are scared- you do not know where you are, where you are going, or where your family is. After what seems like an eternity, you wake up in a small, dirty cage. The cage is just big enough for you to stand and walk eight paces. The cage is littered with trash and is just terrible smelling. You are alone, with nothing to do all day except for sit or sleep. You are hungry too; you have not been fed in a day or two. The only thing left to eat is the trash that bystanders throw into your cage. Obviously, this does not happen to humans in this time in America. But it is, however, happening to thousands of animals in Indonesia’s largest zoo. Animals are captured and are forced to live in the zoo’s harsh conditions, where they are overcrowded, underfed, and neglected. The Surabaya Zoo of Indonesia is a horrendous zoo with terrible conditions, and should be closed down due to the mistreatment of the zoo’s animals.

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The Surabaya Zoo, as disgusting as it is, sees a lot of tourists every day. Being the oldest and one of the most diverse zoos in the world, it is no surprise the zoo sees a lot of traffic. The zoo sees a ton of people each day; around 7,000 people show up to the zoo each day and about 40,000 people visit Surabaya on big holidays. (“Zoo Takes Terrible…”). Perhaps a reason the zoo sees so many tourists could be the cheap entrance prices. The tickets to get into Surabaya zoo only cost $2. (“Indonesian Zoo Shaken…”). That is quite different from the prices paid here in Indiana to get into Indianapolis’s zoo; we pay around $12-$15 to get in our zoo which is quite interesting when looking at the animals of the Indianapolis Zoo compared to the animals of Surabaya Zoo. The Surabaya Zoo contains a large array of rare and unique animals that most zoos just do not have. The zoo has 3,500 animals, all belonging to 200 different species. These animals include: tigers, komodo dragons, orangutans, crocodiles, elephants, cheetahs, camels, and any other animal that can be thought of. Although the zoo sees a lot of tourists each day, that does not mean the it is able to support itself.

The Surabaya Zoo, as popular as it is, does not make near enough money to sustain itself or its animals. The zoo’s income is not high enough to care for the animals, much less invest in improving the zoo’s facilities. As stated before, entrance tickets only cost $2. It may not come as a surprise that that amount of money per ticket is not enough to keep a zoo of that size stable. The lack of money causes almost all of the issues that the zoo now faces, including overcrowding. Overcrowding is a huge issue of the Surabaya Zoo, due to contraceptives being too expensive for the zoo to afford and there not being enough adequate facilities to separate males and females. (“Indonesian Zoo Shaken…”). This overcrowding obviously causes many issues, those that will be mentioned later on in the paper. The zoo did originally have plans to build new open cages with a holding facility and corridors to check on the animals’ health but then realized these facilities would cost billions of rupiah that the zoo does not currently have. (“Death-Ridden Surabaya Zoo…”). Darori, the director general of forest protection and nature conservation at the Forestry Ministry has estimated that the zoo would need about $5.5 million to fund the zoo and improve the animals’ living conditions. (“The Disturbing State…”). The lack of funding also leaves most of the zoo’s animals with lack of food and medical treatment, which will also be further talked about later on. The lack of money the zoo makes leaves the zoo in horrible settings that, unfortunately, the animals must live in.

The conditions that the Surabaya Zoo is kept in are not suitable for any animal to live in. One of the main reasons the animals of the zoo die is due to the inadequate living conditions. (“The Disturbing State…”). The cages that the zoo produces cannot contain the animals properly. A white Bengal tiger that currently resides at the zoo suffers from a spinal problem due to lack of space and not being let out. (“Indonesia’s ‘Nightmare Zoo’”). The zoo also cannot keep up with the overcrowding that happens. A cage the size of a volleyball court houses 180 pelicans. These pelicans cannot stretch their wings, fly like normal pelicans should, or even move. (“Indonesia Zoo Shaken….”). Even more disturbing, in January of this year, an 18-month old lion was found dead in its cage, hanging by its head from a hanging piece of wire. (“For Endangered Wildlife…”). On top of the upsetting facilities that the animals of the Surabaya Zoo have to live in, the zoo itself is littered with trash. The trash that covers the zoo has become a major issue for the animals. Visitors of the zoo can see monkeys roam free and scavenge for food amongst garbage cans in public places. (“Zoo Takes Terrible…”). Not only that, but tourists throw lit cigarettes in an orangutan cage for entertainment as the orangutan smokes the cigarettes. The leftover buds litter the cage. (“For Endangered Wildlife…”). Obviously, trash is not a suitable diet for any animal. Currently, the zoo has plans of improvement when they make more money. In 2012, the Surabaya zoo had plans to build larger, more open cage for giraffe, camels, and zebras but their last giraffe died before they could put their plan into action. (“Death-Ridden Surabaya Zoo…”). Unfortunately, the zoo’s conditions affect the zoo more than one may realize.

The terrifying circumstances that the zoo faces leaves the zoo animals weak, sick, disabled, and dead. A report done in 2010 stated that 25 of their (at the time) 4,000 animals die every month, almost all prematurely. (“Indonesian Zoo Shaken…”). A more recent report from 2012 states that now 15 animals of the Surabaya Zoo die each month. (“The Disturbing State…”). The zoo has improved somewhat, but when it comes down to it, animals in a zoo should not be dying prematurely at all. There was a week in 2011 where the zoo lost a Sumatran tiger, an African lion, a wallaby, a komodo dragon, a babirusa cub, a Bawean deer, a crocodile, and several birds. (“Death-Ridden Surabaya Zoo…”). That is more than eight animals all dead in the span of just one week. So what is killing all of these animals? As I have stated previously before, many issues of the zoo cause health issues; among these issues are overcrowding, lack of funding for adequate facilities, and the fact that the zoo does not have enough money for proper medical treatment and food for the animals. The poverty the zoo faces can cause food shortages that the animals, unfortunately, have to live with. In March of 2012, Surabaya’s Zoo lost their last giraffe; there was a volleyball sized wad of plastic in the giraffe’s stomach. (“Indonesia Zoo Shaken…”). The giraffe’s death is caused by many factors, such as the amount of trash that fills the zoo, and the giraffe’s hunger. The giraffe had nothing to eat other than the plastic garbage that littered its living area. The zoo also lacks proper medical treatment for the animals. White tiger, Chandrika, died early this year due to malnourishment. The zoo claims her death was caused by her damaged tongue and some teeth she lost at her old age that hindered her eating. An anonymous source, however, states that Chandrika died from pneumonia, a sickness that could have been treated/ prevented if she would have had the proper medical attention. (“The Worst Zoo…”). The zoo seems to not be doing anything about these animal deaths. Tony Sumampauw, the current zoo caretaker, states: “Of course the animals will die if they are exposed to the heat and rain all day and night. They can also be infected with diseases from wild animals like cats and rats. It’s no surprise that some animals have suffered from tuberculosis.” (Death-Ridden Surabaya Zoo…”). Quite simply, the zoo cannot fund itself. Its money issues are heavily affecting its conditions and the health of its animals. But these issues are not the only reason the zoo is under huge controversy.

The Surabaya Zoo is constantly facing controversies. As of now, the zoo’s staff is under investigation for being involved in illegal wildlife trafficking. In March of 2011, three komodo dragons went missing from the zoo. Komodo dragons are endangered in the wild and are protected by international law, but are sometimes illegally smuggled as exotic pets. The fact that they are so rare means that they can be sold at very high prices; it is currently believed that the komodo dragons were sold at extremely high prices to foreign buyers who own private zoos. (“Komodo Dragons Missing…”). Not only are komodo dragons being sold, it is highly believed that the zoo animal’s food is being sold too. Many zookeepers of the Surabaya Zoo have been accused of selling meat meant for their tigers in local markets. (“Indonesia Zoo Shaken…”). The most current controversy the zoo undertakes is whether to keep the zoo open or shut it down. Darori explains that the city’s government had refused to elect a permanent team, waiting instead to set up a municipal-owned body to manage the zoo. (“The Disturbing State…”). Currently, the zoo only remains open for right now because of local demand. As for the rest of the world, however, no one wants the zoo to stay open. Countless petitions to close down the zoo reside on the internet. Even more forums and blogs can be found discussing the atrocities of the Surabaya Zoo and our human duty to save these animals from any more harm.

The Surabaya Zoo has been referred to as The Nightmare Zoo, The Zoo of Death, etc. and for a good reason too. Although the zoo brings in many visitors and tourists, it does not make enough money to support itself financially. This can be proven when looking at the zoo’s horrific conditions. The conditions affect the animals too; most of the animals at the Surabaya Zoo die prematurely either from preventable diseases or from malnourishment. On top of all that, the zoo is constantly under controversy. The Surabaya Zoo is a horrible place known for its animal mistreatment and it needs to be shut down. To help, petitions can be signed in effort to shut the zoo down and donations can be made to help pay for these efforts. If everyone comes together to stop the abuse of the Surabaya Zoo, we can save thousands of animals’ lives. As Arthur Schopenhauer once said: “The assumption that animals are without rights, and the illusion that our treatment of them has no moral significance, is a positively outrageous example of Western crudity and barbarity. Universal compassion is the only guarantee of morality.” Picture this- you live the first few years of your life happy with your family. You live in a nice house, your family is healthy, and you have a nice community of people around you. Then, out of nowhere, you are captured. You are scared- you do not know where you are, where you are going, or where your family is. After what seems like an eternity, you wake up in a small, dirty cage. The cage is just big enough for you to stand and walk eight paces. The cage is littered with trash and is just terrible smelling. You are alone, with nothing to do all day except for sit or sleep. You are hungry too; you have not been fed in a day or two. The only thing left to eat is the trash that bystanders throw into your cage. Obviously, this does not happen to humans in this time in America. But it is, however, happening to thousands of animals in Indonesia’s largest zoo. Animals are captured and are forced to live in the zoo’s harsh conditions, where they are overcrowded, underfed, and neglected. The Surabaya Zoo of Indonesia is a horrendous zoo with terrible conditions, and should be closed down due to the mistreatment of the zoo’s animals.

The Surabaya Zoo, as disgusting as it is, sees a lot of tourists every day. Being the oldest and one of the most diverse zoos in the world, it is no surprise the zoo sees a lot of traffic. The zoo sees a ton of people each day; around 7,000 people show up to the zoo each day and about 40,000 people visit Surabaya on big holidays. (“Zoo Takes Terrible…”). Perhaps a reason the zoo sees so many tourists could be the cheap entrance prices. The tickets to get into Surabaya zoo only cost $2. (“Indonesian Zoo Shaken…”). That is quite different from the prices paid here in Indiana to get into Indianapolis’s zoo; we pay around $12-$15 to get in our zoo which is quite interesting when looking at the animals of the Indianapolis Zoo compared to the animals of Surabaya Zoo. The Surabaya Zoo contains a large array of rare and unique animals that most zoos just do not have. The zoo has 3,500 animals, all belonging to 200 different species. These animals include: tigers, komodo dragons, orangutans, crocodiles, elephants, cheetahs, camels, and any other animal that can be thought of. Although the zoo sees a lot of tourists each day, that does not mean the it is able to support itself.

The Surabaya Zoo, as popular as it is, does not make near enough money to sustain itself or its animals. The zoo’s income is not high enough to care for the animals, much less invest in improving the zoo’s facilities. As stated before, entrance tickets only cost $2. It may not come as a surprise that that amount of money per ticket is not enough to keep a zoo of that size stable. The lack of money causes almost all of the issues that the zoo now faces, including overcrowding. Overcrowding is a huge issue of the Surabaya Zoo, due to contraceptives being too expensive for the zoo to afford and there not being enough adequate facilities to separate males and females. (“Indonesian Zoo Shaken…”). This overcrowding obviously causes many issues, those that will be mentioned later on in the paper. The zoo did originally have plans to build new open cages with a holding facility and corridors to check on the animals’ health but then realized these facilities would cost billions of rupiah that the zoo does not currently have. (“Death-Ridden Surabaya Zoo…”). Darori, the director general of forest protection and nature conservation at the Forestry Ministry has estimated that the zoo would need about $5.5 million to fund the zoo and improve the animals’ living conditions. (“The Disturbing State…”). The lack of funding also leaves most of the zoo’s animals with lack of food and medical treatment, which will also be further talked about later on. The lack of money the zoo makes leaves the zoo in horrible settings that, unfortunately, the animals must live in.

The conditions that the Surabaya Zoo is kept in are not suitable for any animal to live in. One of the main reasons the animals of the zoo die is due to the inadequate living conditions. (“The Disturbing State…”). The cages that the zoo produces cannot contain the animals properly. A white Bengal tiger that currently resides at the zoo suffers from a spinal problem due to lack of space and not being let out. (“Indonesia’s ‘Nightmare Zoo’”). The zoo also cannot keep up with the overcrowding that happens. A cage the size of a volleyball court houses 180 pelicans. These pelicans cannot stretch their wings, fly like normal pelicans should, or even move. (“Indonesia Zoo Shaken….”). Even more disturbing, in January of this year, an 18-month old lion was found dead in its cage, hanging by its head from a hanging piece of wire. (“For Endangered Wildlife…”). On top of the upsetting facilities that the animals of the Surabaya Zoo have to live in, the zoo itself is littered with trash. The trash that covers the zoo has become a major issue for the animals. Visitors of the zoo can see monkeys roam free and scavenge for food amongst garbage cans in public places. (“Zoo Takes Terrible…”). Not only that, but tourists throw lit cigarettes in an orangutan cage for entertainment as the orangutan smokes the cigarettes. The leftover buds litter the cage. (“For Endangered Wildlife…”). Obviously, trash is not a suitable diet for any animal. Currently, the zoo has plans of improvement when they make more money. In 2012, the Surabaya zoo had plans to build larger, more open cage for giraffe, camels, and zebras but their last giraffe died before they could put their plan into action. (“Death-Ridden Surabaya Zoo…”). Unfortunately, the zoo’s conditions affect the zoo more than one may realize.

The terrifying circumstances that the zoo faces leaves the zoo animals weak, sick, disabled, and dead. A report done in 2010 stated that 25 of their (at the time) 4,000 animals die every month, almost all prematurely. (“Indonesian Zoo Shaken…”). A more recent report from 2012 states that now 15 animals of the Surabaya Zoo die each month. (“The Disturbing State…”). The zoo has improved somewhat, but when it comes down to it, animals in a zoo should not be dying prematurely at all. There was a week in 2011 where the zoo lost a Sumatran tiger, an African lion, a wallaby, a komodo dragon, a babirusa cub, a Bawean deer, a crocodile, and several birds. (“Death-Ridden Surabaya Zoo…”). That is more than eight animals all dead in the span of just one week. So what is killing all of these animals? As I have stated previously before, many issues of the zoo cause health issues; among these issues are overcrowding, lack of funding for adequate facilities, and the fact that the zoo does not have enough money for proper medical treatment and food for the animals. The poverty the zoo faces can cause food shortages that the animals, unfortunately, have to live with. In March of 2012, Surabaya’s Zoo lost their last giraffe; there was a volleyball sized wad of plastic in the giraffe’s stomach. (“Indonesia Zoo Shaken…”). The giraffe’s death is caused by many factors, such as the amount of trash that fills the zoo, and the giraffe’s hunger. The giraffe had nothing to eat other than the plastic garbage that littered its living area. The zoo also lacks proper medical treatment for the animals. White tiger, Chandrika, died early this year due to malnourishment. The zoo claims her death was caused by her damaged tongue and some teeth she lost at her old age that hindered her eating. An anonymous source, however, states that Chandrika died from pneumonia, a sickness that could have been treated/ prevented if she would have had the proper medical attention. (“The Worst Zoo…”). The zoo seems to not be doing anything about these animal deaths. Tony Sumampauw, the current zoo caretaker, states: “Of course the animals will die if they are exposed to the heat and rain all day and night. They can also be infected with diseases from wild animals like cats and rats. It’s no surprise that some animals have suffered from tuberculosis.” (Death-Ridden Surabaya Zoo…”). Quite simply, the zoo cannot fund itself. Its money issues are heavily affecting its conditions and the health of its animals. But these issues are not the only reason the zoo is under huge controversy.

The Surabaya Zoo is constantly facing controversies. As of now, the zoo’s staff is under investigation for being involved in illegal wildlife trafficking. In March of 2011, three komodo dragons went missing from the zoo. Komodo dragons are endangered in the wild and are protected by international law, but are sometimes illegally smuggled as exotic pets. The fact that they are so rare means that they can be sold at very high prices; it is currently believed that the komodo dragons were sold at extremely high prices to foreign buyers who own private zoos. (“Komodo Dragons Missing…”). Not only are komodo dragons being sold, it is highly believed that the zoo animal’s food is being sold too. Many zookeepers of the Surabaya Zoo have been accused of selling meat meant for their tigers in local markets. (“Indonesia Zoo Shaken…”). The most current controversy the zoo undertakes is whether to keep the zoo open or shut it down. Darori explains that the city’s government had refused to elect a permanent team, waiting instead to set up a municipal-owned body to manage the zoo. (“The Disturbing State…”). Currently, the zoo only remains open for right now because of local demand. As for the rest of the world, however, no one wants the zoo to stay open. Countless petitions to close down the zoo reside on the internet. Even more forums and blogs can be found discussing the atrocities of the Surabaya Zoo and our human duty to save these animals from any more harm.

The Surabaya Zoo has been referred to as The Nightmare Zoo, The Zoo of Death, etc. and for a good reason too. Although the zoo brings in many visitors and tourists, it does not make enough money to support itself financially. This can be proven when looking at the zoo’s horrific conditions. The conditions affect the animals too; most of the animals at the Surabaya Zoo die prematurely either from preventable diseases or from malnourishment. On top of all that, the zoo is constantly under controversy. The Surabaya Zoo is a horrible place known for its animal mistreatment and it needs to be shut down. To help, petitions can be signed in effort to shut the zoo down and donations can be made to help pay for these efforts. If everyone comes together to stop the abuse of the Surabaya Zoo, we can save thousands of animals’ lives. As Arthur Schopenhauer once said: “The assumption that animals are without rights, and the illusion that our treatment of them has no moral significance, is a positively outrageous example of Western crudity and barbarity. Universal compassion is the only guarantee of morality.”

Works Cited

  • “Death-Ridden Surabaya Zoo Pleads for Cash.” The Jakarta Globe. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Mar. 2014.
  • “For Endangered Wildlife, This Indonesian Zoo Can Be Akin to a Death Sentence.” GlobalPost. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.
  • “Indonesian Zoo Shaken by Giraffe Death.” Daily Herald. N.p., 14 Mar. 2012. Web. 26 Mar. 2014.
  • “Indonesia’s ‘nightmare’ Zoo.” The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group, 21 Oct. 0013. Web. 26 Mar. 2014.
  • “Komodo Dragons Missing from Indonesian Zoo.” BBC News. BBC, 22 Mar. 2011. Web. 26 Mar. 2014.
  • “Time.com.” NewsFeed The Disturbing State of Indonesias Zoo of Death Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Mar. 2014.
  • “The Worst Zoo in the World Keeps Going Downhill.” DNews. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.
  • “Zoo Takes Terrible Toll on Animals.” The Sydney Morning Herald. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Mar. 2014.
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