Malang, East Java. After filing a recommendation more than a year ago, wildlife conservation authorities in Malang, East Java, are awaiting final approval for a rescue mission to relocate dozens of rare animals from a poorly maintained municipal zoo, an official said on Tuesday.
Dedi Sudiana, the head of the Malang Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA), said his office had issued a recommendation to the Forestry Ministry to allow it to seize the animals from the Malang Recreation Park (Tareko), and was now just awaiting written confirmation before swooping in.
He said that among the animals to be confiscated were two rare primates — a critically endangered Sulawesi crested macaque and a siamang — and several exotic birds. These include a pair of cassowaries, a hornbill, a crested hawk-eagle and a Javan hawk-eagle — the national bird of Indonesia. Dozens of other animals, mostly birds of paradise, are also on the list for seizure by the BKSDA.
Dedi said the the seizure, which the BKSDA had recommended since June 2012, comes amid concerns about the animals’ welfare in the facility, which is part of the Malang City Hall complex in the middle of the city.
He also said the park did not have enough qualified staff to look after the animals properly.
“It takes a lot of money to look after the animals, but the park doesn’t charge an entry fee, so the animals’ welfare is being compromised,” he said.
“Hence this seizure is being carried out in the best interest of the animals.”
Dedi said that the animals would be moved to better facilities in Malang and elsewhere in East Java, including Jatim Park in Malang, Taman Safari in Pasuruan and the Environmental Tourism Study Park in Probolinggo.
“We already have space prepared for the animals at those facilities, so now it’s just a matter of waiting for written permission from the Forestry Ministry,” he said.
Ida Ayu Made Wahyuni, the head of the Malang Culture and Tourism Agency, which manages the park, confirmed the imminent seizure by the BKSDA and conceded that her office lacked the resources to take proper care of the animals.
She said that under a Forestry Ministry regulation, the park should have been turned into a city-owned enterprise to make it more financially feasible.
However, the Malang administration was unable to meet the requirements for the management change, which includes having qualified animal caretakers and veterinarians, adequate space for the animals and a source of revenue.
Wahyuni said the city had to rely on the service of a vet from the municipal agriculture office, and that with a total area of just two hectares — including visitor areas — the park was far too cramped, which destressed the animals.
“The siamang often screams when it hears a car revving because it’s not used to that level of noise. And the noise also spooks the peacocks, which then refuse to look after their eggs,” Wahyuni said.
“In the end, it’ll be a good thing once our conservation permit gets revoked, because then the BKSDA can take the animals to other facilities where they’ll be cared for better.”