During the past few months, Malaysia was struck with a third wave of Covid-19 infections which once again disabled all activities across society, including those of Zoo Negara. This brought a serious financial crisis upon the zoo, which was ordered to close. The poor animals have had to struggle to live amid a lack of food and medication.
Forcing Zoo Negara to close is like forcing the animals to die a slow death. Living in captivity is hell for humans, what more for animals. The difference is that humans can do something – farming, for example, to get alternative sources of food. But for animals, even their food is controlled by humans. Humans also decide when they sleep and rest, but animals cannot do anything while under human control.
Zoo Negara should not be closed, even under the movement control order (MCO). The lives of animals are at stake because the zoo needs about RM1 million a month to survive during this pandemic. The government’s funds definitely will not be enough for the long term. Relying on other initiatives such as live-video or using e-commerce platforms to raise funds is also insufficient.
There’s no point keeping the animals in the zoo if it is not allowed to open. And if these animals are released into the wild, I’m afraid they might not be able to fend for themselves. In this matter, Zoo Negara should be allowed to open daily.
It was good news when Zoo Negara announced that it would reopen. But we don’t know what the future will bring us. There might be another wave of Covid-19, or something even worse. The government should let Zoo Negara continue operating to help the animals there. Of course this would be hard, but as long as everyone obeys the SOPs, it wouldn’t be a big problem.
I would suggest that the government limit the zoo’s operating hours and number of visitors each day. The number may seem small but it would still have an impact on the zoo. Selling tickets online to avoid contact with people would reduce the possibility of the virus spreading. Wearing a mask and observing social distancing should also be compulsory.
They would have to make sure that every visitor follows the SOPs before entering. I would also suggest that the zoo allow visitors to bring their own food for the animals, if at all. But since the animals are being treated well, perhaps Zoo Negara could put up a list of food that visitors could bring. This would help lessen the animals’ food expenses.
Zoo Negara is one of Malaysia’s many attraction sites. Visitors come not only from Malaysia but from other countries as well. We should agree to keep it open because otherwise the possibility of these animals dying is strong.
We don’t want the once-glorious Zoo Negara to lose its throne. This would at least help Zoo Negara to stand tall again, and help ensure that the animals are taken care of as well.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of MalaysiaNow.