Background information: Following two years of negative responses from both the zoo and the government, in January this year Nature Alert and COP met with the Governor of Jakarta who made clear his intentions to a) make immediate changes at the zoo b) improve the quality of life for the orangutans by making them new enclosures and where possible rehabilitating some back to Borneo/Sumatra. Moving some to other zoos, despite our reservations, may well be the only option for some of the 32 orangutans held in mostly horrific conditions. The Governor quickly fired the zoo director and he has also implemented a new management structure and today a planning meeting is being held to consider the options available. I wonder if Terri Irwin has her eyes on any of these orangutans? I gather the Jakarta zoo is still waiting for more gorillas from the UK - swanky new cages are being prepared for them whilst for the last xx years Indonesia's own great ape has been and still is incarcerated at the zoo. What can possibly be the motives of zoos who ship animals thousands of miles for exhibition purposes in countries where people will barely recognise them and appreciate them even less?
Triwik Kurniasari , THE JAKARTA POST , JAKARTA | Mon, 04/13/2009
Many endangered animals in South Jakarta’s Ragunan Zoo will be transferred to other conservation areas, as their number has exceeded its capacity.
Primates, like orang utans, owa (a gibbon from the Hylobatidae), siamang and mammals such as bears, white tigers, Sumatran tigers and Sumatran elephants are just a few of them.
“We have almost 50 orangutans, for instance. The number is about 10 percent higher than our capacity,” Edy Setiarto, head of the city animal husbandry agency said recently.
As the grounds are getting too crowded, the zoo management is finding it hard to take care of all the animals, says Edy.
“We plan to exchange some of our animals with other kinds from zoos around Indonesia or abroad to solve the problem,” said Edy.
“So far, we have exchanged animals with zoos in other countries, such as Qatar, China, Singapore and Australia,” he said, adding that the cooperation also included training animal keepers.
The exchange, however, will take into account the conservation aspect, he said.
“The orang utan, for example, is categorized as an endangered animal. We will exchange it with other animals that have a similar level of endangerment,” he said.
“We will not exchange an orang utan for a snake, for example,” said Edy.
The second step will be to bring the animals back to their natural habitats, while the other option is to entrust them to rehabilitation centers.
The agency recorded the zoo also had a surplus of reptiles and birds. Rice paddy turtles topped the list of excess reptiles (49 turtles), followed by komodos (32) and estuary crocodiles (21).
Ragunan is home to more than 3,500 animals – nearly 2,000 birds, over 1,000 mammals, close to 350 reptiles and more than 150 fish.
There are 136 different species of birds inside the walls of the 140-hectare compound, 82 of mammals, 41 of reptiles and 19 of fish.
Meanwhile, the agency also plans to increase Ragunan’s entrance fees to reduce the administration’s subsidies.
There are about 15,000 to 20,000 visitors coming to the zoo on weekends and 3,000 visitors on weekdays.
Edy said the zoo’s entrance fee was much cheaper than other recreational areas, such as the Safari park in Bogor or Ancol in North Jakarta.
The zoo only charges Rp 4,000 (less than 50 US cents) for adults and Rp 3,000 for early birds.
The Safari park entrance fee on the other hand costs Rp 50,000 for locals above the age of 6, and Rp 70,000 for foreign visitors.
The entrance ticket for Ancol is Rp 12,000. “We want to reduce the [city] administration’s annual subsidy toward the zoo,” said Edy, adding the administration had already allocated about Rp 50 billion this year.
He said the agency was not afraid of losing visitors once the ticket price was raised.
“It’s about time for us to review the ticket prices so we can give a better service, both to the animals and visitors,” he said.
“We are also preparing a new plan for the zoo to attract more visitors,” Edy said.
Besides buying more facilities, the agency will also organize shows.
“The shows will be more different than ever before. We will offer screenings of animals giving birth, or mammals feeding their cubs,” he said.