Daniek Hendarto, an off-site conservation specialist at the Centre for Orangutan Protection, said only three of 12 zoos studied since April 2009 were providing their endangered apes with a decent living environment.
He said the study showed the orangutans at most of the zoos were housed in small, poorly maintained enclosures, were not properly fed and lacked even simple facilities such as a rope to swing on.
He also said the apes at these zoos are forced into “doing unreasonable things, like cycling or posing for pictures.”
“In fact, visitors to these zoos can easily mistreat the orangutans,” he said.
“These conditions cause the orangutans to fall into depression and are hardly going to help in educating the public about the importance of wildlife conservation,” Daniek added.
The zoos studied by the welfare centre included Surabaya Zoo, Malang’s Batu Secret Zoo, Lamongan’s Maharani Zoo and Taman Safari Prigen in Pasuruan, all in East Java.
In Central Java, they included Solo’s Taru Jurug Zoo, Kendal’s Wersut Sugini Recreation Park, Banjarnegara Zoo, the Romensy Recreation Park in Sukoharjo and Yogyakarta’s Gembiraloka Zoo.
The zoos in West Java and Jakarta were Ragunan, Bandung’s Tamansari Zoo and Taman Safari Bogor.
Of these, COP said only the Taman Safari parks and Maharani Zoo were treating their orangutans properly.
Daniek said the zoos should phase out the traditional closed cages and build more open enclosures with play facilities.
“They should also prohibit attractions such as photo ops with visitors,” he said.
“It’s possible to have attractions that can educate visitors and still amuse.”
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