The Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (MYCAT), comprising the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS), TRAFFIC Southeast Asia, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) – Malaysia Programme and WWF-Malaysia, commends the Department of Wildlife and National Parks Peninsular Malaysia (PERHILITAN) on their decision to not renew the operating permit of Saleng Zoo in Johor.
Over the years, the Zoo has been in the spotlight for various run-ins with the law and has been the subject of many public complaints. The most shocking find by PERHILITAN was the 21 dead tiger cubs in its freezer
Among the Zoo’s other previous offences is possession of wildlife without permits including a baby elephant, two slow lorises, a Tomistoma and a number of pythons and storks which were seized by PERHILITAN in various raids. The zoo owner also claimed in an interview in December 2008 that PERHILITAN has seized more than 20 animals from his zoo in the past six to seven years.
It has been known to rent its tiger cubs for appearances and ‘roadshows’ - a violation of the law in which the wildlife permit is attached to the animal at the stated premise only, which means that it cannot be taken from one place to another.
In terms of evidence, these compounding offences alone give PERHILITAN enough reasons to shut down Saleng Zoo.
We request that PERHILITAN disclose records of Saleng Zoo’s past cases that have been settled and compounded, pending cases especially the case of the dead tiger cubs, and other offences such as the breeding and hybridisation of protected wildlife.
MYCAT urges Natural Resources and Environment Minister Dato’ Sri Douglas Uggah Embas to boldly pursue zoos that repeatedly flout our laws and ensure that the owners are never granted a special permit
MYCAT calls upon the public to support current efforts to evaluate zoos, and demand strong action against errant zoos. This is the time for members of the public, who had asked for better protection for captive animals, to walk the talk and make your voice heard. We need to make sure that these establishments are closed, and will remain closed, as too many chances have been given in the past, with the only result being that the offender repeatedly violates wildlife laws time and again.
We also call upon the media to cease publicising Saleng and other zoos which are known offenders.
With the passing of the strengthened Wildlife Conservation Act 2010, Malaysians have a real chance to clean up our act in an organised and legal way to deal with all the problems local zoos face today that has
given Malaysia a bad name.
The law is in place. PERHILITAN has shown that it wants to say ‘Enough’. The public demand for better zoos is there. Our wildlife should not be suffering at the hands of errant zoos, poachers and illegal traders.
Let us instead support PERHILITAN’s efforts to protect our wildlife and show no mercy to repeat offenders.