Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Improve conditions for orang-utan in captivity

Tuesday March 23, 2010 The Star, Malaysia

Improve conditions for orang-utan in captivity

SARAWAK and Sabah are right to say no to sending their orang-utan to a proposed new tourist facility in Kuala Lumpur, “Sabah, S’wak unwilling to send their orang utan to KL” (Sunday Star, March 21).

First and foremost, anyone who has seen the truly horrific conditions in which orang-utan are held in Malaysian zoos and safari parks will know full well the inability of the Government to set, let alone maintain, acceptable standards for animal welfare.

Perhilitan is currently investigating allegations of cruelty and breaches of the Protection of Wildlife Act 1972 Act 76 at five well known establishments which keep orang-utan.

The treatment of orang-utan (and many other species) in Malaysian zoos is nothing
less than appalling, in some cases involving torture, and it must be stopped.

With the emphasis at this proposed new attraction on tourism, not conservation or education, the Government presumably has seen how orang-utan eco-tourism attracts large numbers to Sabah and Sarawak and wants to sidetrack some of these tourists to Kuala Lumpur.

It’s all about money and it has nothing to do with caring for the needs of the orang-utan.
If the officials really care about orang-utan, let them first show this by improving conditions for orang-utan already in captivity, and where appropriate, bring the full force of the law to bear on those who flagrantly breach the Protection of Wildlife Act.

Chief Executive, Nature Alert