By EMMA REYNOLDS
Behind bars: An orangutan in a cage at the Melaka Zoo, south of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, where animals are kept in desperate conditions
Orangutans are being locked up in tiny cages and deprived of food and water by cruel zookeepers, it emerged today.
Left without any stimulation or room to exercise, the intelligent creatures sit and stare out hopelessly from behind the bars, according to campaigners in Malaysia.
The endangered species are trapped for up to 24 hours a day in their cramped quarters alongside other mistreated animals at Melaka Zoo, south of Kuala Lumpur, according to The Mirror.
Hopeless existence: Orangutans stare out from the bars of their tiny cages at Melaka Zoo
Cruel: An impossibly tiny cage which leaves no room for exercise. Attempts by the Malaysian government's wildlife ministry Perhilitan to clamp down on conditions in the country's zoos have failed
In May, Malaysia's Johor Zoo was revealed to be keeping a chain-smoking orangutan called Shirley.
The orangutan, who was seized from the zoo, lived a sad existence in which she tore apart drinks cans and chewed on food wrappers thrown at her by visitors.
Endangered: But this orangutan lives a bleak existence in Malaysia's Melaka Zoo
No escape: Desperation on the face of this orangutan, left without any stimulation in horribly cramped conditions
'A species that should be the pride of all Malaysia is instead being treated like prisoners on death row,' Sean Whyte, the head of British charity Nature Alert told the newspaper today.
'We don’t know how long it’s been like this but it’s months and possibly years.'
Attempts by the Malaysian government's wildlife ministry Perhilitan to clamp down on the appalling conditions in the country's zoos, rated among the worst in the world, have failed to change the situation.
Malaysia's zoos are among the worst in the world, say wildlife campaigners, with some even making animals perform despite the practice being banned
Pitiful: Campaigners say the creatures are left without food and water and treated like prisoners on death row
Cramped: In a common sight for Malaysian zoos, a tiger was found earlier this year in an enclosure that afforded barely any room for exercise
Some creatures were being made to perform, despite the practice being banned, but worst of all was the example of a zoo that had been obtaining its animals on the black market.
In October 2010 the Malaysian government passed a new law giving the zoos six months to clean up their act but there has been shamefully little progress since the June deadline.
Disgrace: Shirley the chain-smoking orangutan is typical of the horrors to be found in Malaysian zoos. She was seized from state-run Johor Zoo earlier this year
Nature Alert has worked hard to prick the conscience of the Malaysian government but with the new regulations being met with obvious indifference, it is working to focus international attention on a problem for which a wealthy country has no excuse.
To help these orangutans, email the Malaysian embassy in London at email@example.com or phone 0207 235 8033.
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
By EMMA REYNOLDS