Petaling Jaya (The Star/ANN) - The Malaysian authorities have shut down six zoos around the country for being unsanitary and unsafe.
The zoos have also failed to comply with the Wildlife Conservation (Operation of Zoo) Regulations 2012, which came into effect last February 1.
The zoos are: Lye Huat Garden in Kedah, Kuala Krai bird park in Kelantan, Countryview Recreation in Pahang, PD Mini Zoo in Negri Sembilan, Taman Kuang in Ajil, Terengganu, and Animal Wonderland at Mines Wonderland in Selangor.
The Wildlife and National Parks Department Perhilitan said the six were closed following checks at 45 zoos and animal parks nationwide.
"All the affected animals will either be released to their natural habitats after a rehabilitation process (for local species) or handed over to other zoos in the country," the department said in a statement yesterday.
Under the regulations, zoos and animal parks are required to ensure that the welfare, health and safety of the animals are taken care of.
They are required, among other things, to:
>Adhere to minimum cage sizes, which are specified according to various animal groups;
>Have a quarantine area and provide veterinary services;
>Provide nutritious and sufficient food for the animals, as prescribed by a veterinarian; and
>Vaccinate the animals.
Calling for zoo operators to comply with the regulations, Perhilitan said the vetting process at other premises was ongoing.
"Although this involves substantial cost, the welfare of animals in captivity has to be a priority," it said.
As a follow-up measure, Perhilitan together with the Malaysian Association of Zoological Parks and Aquaria will conduct zoo management training to help members increase knowledge in welfare management and husbandry of wild animals in captivity.
The department stressed that it was committed to continuing monitoring and enforcing zoo management regulations.