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.