(THE STAR, 21 JUNE 2011)
SENAI: The animals at the Saleng Zoo have finally been “set free”, with the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) spearheading the rescue mission.
Armed with tranquilliser guns, metal cutters and blowtorches, a huge team of officials raided the zoo in an operation that began at 10am.
The entire exercise to remove the animals, said to number about 60, is expected to last at least a week.
The raid, the first in the country since the new Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 was enforced last December, culminated in the seizure of dozens of protected animals which included bears, tigers, lions, snakes, monkeys, porcupines, crocodiles, birds and ostriches. The zoo has about 40 species of animals.
Starprobe had exposed the situation at several zoos last month where animals were being kept in atrocious and pitiful conditions that went against international and local zoo guidelines.
Saleng Zoo was one of the zoos named. Its animal trainer and zookeeper J. Sivapriyan offered no resistance as the operation got underway yesterday.
The officers used blowtorches and metal cutters to cut through cages to remove the animals while tranquillisers were used to sedate the larger wild animals.
Department deputy director-general Dr Zaaba Zainal Abidin, who led the raid with about 80 personnel, said the animals were being taken to Malacca Zoo and Paya Indah Wetlands.
He said that the zoo needed to have special permits to keep the animals and hold licenced species.
“Both these permits were not renewed,” he said.
Johor Perhilitan director Saharudin Anan, who also joined the operation, said the department had received many complaints against the zoo.
Sivapriyan said he was disappointed with the department's actions.
“Until now, they have refused to tell me what we have done wrong and how we can change.
“We have invested so much and my animals are breeding,” he said, adding that the lions had given birth to four cubs while the tigers had two cubs several days ago.
Sivapriyan also hit out at NGOs which he said were making baseless accusations to gain popularity.
“I have even tried to meet with the minister (Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah Embas) but he keeps avoiding me,” he said, adding that he has about 300 signatures in support of the zoo.
He said the zoo was set up in 2001 on a 8ha site with an initial investment of about RM3mil.
Zizularts: MYCAT (Persatuan Pencinta Harimau Malaysia) telah menyuarakan sokongan atas tindakan PERHILITAN merampas lebih 40 haiwan dari Zoo Saleng. Ekoran penemuan 21 ekor anak harimau mati dalam ruangan sejuk beku pada 2008, dan hanya 3 penjaga zoo bagi keseluruhan haiwan dalam zoo (serta beberapa sebab lagi yang boleh disenaraikan). Berita ini dah lama, seminggu lepas, baru dapat war-warkan hari ini. Saya siarkan petikan berita ini agar kita cakna dengan isu kebajikan haiwan dalam kurungan sedang negara tengah marak dengan gelombang Kuning yang membawa mesej BERSIH.