Jakarta. The Indonesia-based Scorpion Wildlife Trade Monitoring Group has demanded the closure of Bandung Zoo in West Java after finding severely malnourished sun bears in one of the institution's enclosures.
The case quickly went viral on social media, along with video footage, taken by the group earlier this month, showing the bears seemingly begging zoo visitors for food.
The group created a petition on Change.org, asking Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar and her subordinates to close the zoo.
Titled "Save Bears From Starving at Bandung Zoo," the petition has already attracted support from more than 2,300 people – just short of its target of 2,500.
In the petition, Scorpion Wildlife Trade Monitoring highlights the zoo's poor animal caretaking skills, with a Sumatran elephant having died there last year because of a lack of in-house veterinary assistance.
"After the death of Yani [the elephant], we are surprised to see the bears being malnourished in cages – the bears looked thin and were eating their own feces," the group wrote on its petition page.
The group says the condition of the sun bears shows that the zoo has violated basic animal welfare standards, such as freedom from hunger, disease, fear, distress and pain.
"Caretakers must ensure that the animals live in healthy conditions, with sufficient food and being able to conduct their natural behavior, while living in a safe environment," Scorpion Wildlife Trade Monitoring Group wrote in its statement.