Friday February 22, 2013
Zoo saga takes new twist as 230 animals go missing
MALACCA: The case involving the deaths of a sun bear and a stallion at the Malacca Zoo and Night Safari took a new twist when it was alleged that some 230 zoo animals were “unaccounted” for.
The discovery was made on Jan 1 in a stock list when the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) handed over management of the menagerie to a private consortium, said a zoologist.
Dr Razeem Mazlan Abdullah, who is the animal welfare and ethics sub-committee chairman of the zoo operators, breeders, pet and wildlife traders association (P4PHM), said the list of missing animals included several mammals, reptiles and birds that vanished in just two weeks after the first listing was completed on Dec 20.
“A big question mark is what had happened to all of them and where have they been placed or transferred to,” he said yesterday.
The P4PHM has a membership base close to 4,000 individuals.
Dr Razeem, who has more than two decades of zoology experience, believed the animals were probably handed over to other zoos and individuals without abiding by the required procedures.
“To my knowledge, protected and endangered species should not be handed over to anyone by Govern-ment zoos without approval from the Natural Resources and Environment Minister,” he said, adding that the discrepancy appeared before the handing-over exercise of the Malacca Zoo to the private company.
Dr Razeem asked the former zoo management to explain the discrepancies in the list.
He said the animals were sent to the zoo about three years ago and the first evaluation on stock list was done last Dec 20 by his group.
However, there were 230 animals missing when a second stock evaluation was made on Jan 1.
Dr Razeem said over 100 mammals, 27 reptiles and 57 birds of various species were missing when the second stock-taking was done.
Among them were the Malayan Sun Bear, Malayan Tigers, dingos, spotted leopards and deer.
Dr Razeem said those missing from the second list included crocodiles, river terrapins and some birds such as the Lesser Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, Lesser Bird of Paradise and Moluccan Cockatoo.
“From our records, two giraffes died when they were transferred to another zoo before the handover to the private company,” he added.