Singer Morrissey requested the Indonesian government to immediately shut down the Surabaya Zoo in eastern Java where hundreds of animals have died or disappeared.
Morrissey wrote a letter to Indonesian Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and wrote: “Your ministry called for a change at the Surabaya Zoo, but no improvements have been made. There can be no justification for seemingly endless debates and delays while animals continue to suffer and die. Please take immediate action to close the Surabaya Zoo and transfer its animals to more suitable environments.”
The Antara news agency said last year that Indonesia’s largest zoo had turned into a horror place for animals and a zoo spokesman said in March around 500 animals died at the zoo in 2010 and 2011.
According to reports in the Daily Mail, there have been suspicions that members of the staff at Surabaya Zoo are involved in illegal wildlife trafficking. Three baby Komodo dragons disappeared and were believed to have been stolen and sold on the black market.
The Associated Press reports that sixteen tigers are kept in a prison-like row of concrete cages, and one white tiger who has been at the zoo 20 years is covered by skin lesions and is unable to stand up properly. A critically endangered Sumatran tiger died at the zoo recently too.
In March, the Surabaya Zoo’s last giraffe was found dead with a 44-pound ball of plastic in its stomach. It’s believed to have formed from years of visitors throwing food wrappers into the pen.
After the death of Kilwon the giraffe, Tim Phillips, campaigns director at Animal Defenders International, also called for the closure of the zoo and said, “This was a tragic, pointless and painful death of an animal living in miserable conditions. With all the natural wonders and beauty of Indonesia you have to ask why such a horrible exhibit is allowed to continue where animals live and die in miserable pens.”
The forestry ministry’s biodiversity conservation director Bambang Novianto said, “We have been trying to improve the welfare of the animals by setting up an independent team involving experts. It’s true that there have been some animal deaths at the Surabaya Zoo caused by overcapacity and a lack of proper facilities, but many of the animals at the zoo just died of old age.”