Activists refer to Indonesia’s largest zoo as the “zoo of death,” and they’re calling for new management and the transfer of captive animals to conservation programs. The Surabaya Zoo has been around since 1916, but in recent years it has faced harsh criticism over its treatment of animals. Overcrowding, lack of food, and poorly trained staff are all part of the problem. Petitions have been circling to close the zoo altogether – sign here to make your voice heard.

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Around 2,200 animals live at the Surabaya Zoo, but activists say most are in cages that aren’t big enough for them. While zoo staff says many of the deaths at the zoo result from natural causes, activists point to the horrible conditions at the zoo.

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Just last month a Sumatran tiger died, and the zoo doesn’t yet know why. The tiger was endangered, as are some of the other animals that have died in captivity there. Some 45 Komodo dragons, which only live in the east of Indonesia, died after fighting one another in a cage that was far too crowded. Then there was Michael, an 18-month-old lion who appeared to be hanged in his cage two years ago. When one giraffe died at the zoo, an examination revealed 40 pounds of plastic inside the animal’s stomach.

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The Indonesia Wildlife Communication Forum’s Petrus Riski said animals should be given to conservation institutes instead of remaining at the zoo to ease overcrowding. Secretary General of the Indonesia Zoo & Aquarium Association Tony Sumampau said the zoo needed more money and “more support.” Zoo Director Aschta Boestani said, “We’ve been trying to solve these issues one by one. I hope in three to four months from now we can finally solve the problem.” Since the zoo has been having issues for years now, activists wonder whether they actually will make the changes.

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Via Reuters