Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Palembang Zoo

We took Aaron to the Palembang Zoo this afternoon. It was part of an area they called a forest reserve. There were plenty of shady trees around and I could see that this was a nice picnic area when it was new. It had a small rides area for kids, a pond and several open spaces with individual huts for picnics. Unfortunately, lack of maintenance, perhaps through lack of funds, have left this place a complete mess.

The entrance fee to the reserve was about USD 0.20 and to the zoo, USD 0.30. I wasn't expecting much of the zoo but this was much much sadder than I thought it would be. There weren't a lot of animals there: 3 gibbons, 1 orang utan, 2 sun bears, 1 crocodile, 1 panther, 1 cassowary and quite a few cages of chickens/birds. All the animals were lethargic. There were plastic bags in all the cages. I can't even call it enclosures because they were just cages.

The good part about this lack of planning and care was that we could get up close and personal with the animals. The cages didn't have any additional barriers to prevent visitors from putting their noses right against the cage. However, all I saw at such close range were the sad eyes of the sun bear.

On the one hand, I'd like to say that if you don't have the stamina and the funds to maintain such a place, then don't have a zoo in the first place. But on the other hand, a bus load of children arrived while we were there and I think plenty of schools have excursions there. These children will have nowhere else to see these animals if the zoo was closed.

The children are in the orange and brown uniforms.

One sad sun bear.

One orang utan begging.

One baby gibbon sucking his toe.


Gattina said...

Looks like a beautiful Zoo ! I hadn't been in a zoo since at least 26 years when this year I decided to go there in Antwerp it was so nice to see all the animals. If you want to show the pictures
here they are.
I have another little (funny) story of my post war childhood in Germany if ever you are interested in.

NomadicExpat said...

This is one sad zoo and it needs to be closed down. Zoos are meant for preservation of animals and education and this doesnt look like the kind, but like you've said, where's the money coming from to do so, then, it begs the question of why have it in the first place? That way, we aren't imposing those "western" standards of what a zoo should be, yada yada... Animals shouldnt be caged like that... Well, if those sun bears were in other parts of Asia, they would probably be caged for their paws and gall blader and looks like it's not! I guess that's the only positive thing I saw out of this zoo! Likewise, in the Singapore zoo, there should remove the enclosure for the polar bears; it's REALLY sad to see those polar bears not having the same kind of space the need to roam and with algae growing on their fur. What's ironic is that the polar bear enclosure is sponsored by the Canadian Embassy!

noisms said...

I always have mixed emotions about zoos - even big, well funded ones like the local one here in the UK, which is the country's biggest and costs about US$40 to get in. Big animals just shouldn't be kept in cages - some of the predatory ones are used to having territories covering hundreds of square kilometers. Being cooped up in a cage, or even a few acres, will drive them crazy, and I hate seeing them pace around desparately.

On the other hand, as a kid I can remember going to that zoo and being absolutely fascinated and mesmerized by all the animals...and I think it's one of the main reasons why I have a lifelong love of animals.

So like I said, mixed feelings.

Serina Hope said...

Some of my friends are zoo haters, but I think that it is good for the children to see the animals.. I just always hope that they treat the animals well!

Bilbo said...

It's a shame the animals can't be treated any better than that. I enjoy zoos, but believe the animals should be well-treated.