Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Department stops animal shows at resort

Personal note: This is a direct result of complaints and emails from Nature Alert supporters.The ban applies to all Malaysian zoos, and we will be checking. We know the governments own Melaka Zoo has stopped its shows and all souvenir photography sessions with the public.

Department stops animal shows at resort

2010/05/26 New Straits Times, Malaysia

ALOR GAJAH: The Wildlife and National Parks Department has issued a directive to a popular resort here to cease animal shows following allegations of abuse of the animals which were posted on the Internet and video recorded on YouTube.

State director Abdul Rahim Othman said department officials had met with the management of A'Famosa Resort last month to discuss and resolve the matter.

He said the allegations of abuse, especially of the tigers which are categorised as endangered, had given a bad impression of the resort and the practice had to be stopped before it got out of hand.

"The public has a negative perception of the issue as a result of the allegations and comments on YouTube and various websites.

"The management understood the gravity of the problem and had complied with the directive," he said yesterday.

Rahim said recent checks by the department showed there were no animal shows or photography sessions involving tigers, adding that if visitors came across such abuse they should immediately alert the department.

The alleged abuse of a tiger during a show at the resort was highlighted by a New Straits Times reader in the Letters section on Monday.

Anisa Nishat Mohamed Ismail claimed she had watched a video of a tiger that appeared drugged "or so tired it could not even hold its head upright".

She said it was a horrifying spectacle and showed the staff's total disregard for the majestic animal and was a slap in the face for Malaysia's conservation efforts.

A'Famosa, however, denied the reports of abuse of the tiger, or any others animals under its care.

General manager Allan Chee said contrary to the claims, the tiger, recorded on You-Tube, was not drugged, but captive-bred and was very tame and comfortable around humans.

"The tiger is healthy and fine. It was not drugged during the photography session.

"Tigers are nocturnal, and those kept here are well fed and are lazy and lethargic during the mid-morning," he said.

To prove that the resort also participates in conservation efforts, it is inviting animal lovers and observers to see the condition and state of the animals at the resort.

"We are inviting animal lovers and conservation groups to participate in our 'Free & Easy Tour of the Animal World Safari'.

"See for yourselves the operation of our park, as well as the condition and state of all the animals in the resort," said a posting on A'Famosa's Facebook account.