Indonesia: Investigate Ragunan Zoo for mistreatment of animals, says AfA Coalition


(Featured image: monkey in Ragunan Zoo. Credit Darren, CC BY-NC 2.0)

Letter addressed to:

Her Excellence Dr Ir. Siti Nurbaya Bakar
Minister of Environment & Forestry
Ministry of Environment & Forestry Republic of Indonesia
Gedung Manggala Wanabakti Blok I Lt. 3
Jalan Gatot Subroto – Senayan – Jakarta – Indonesia – 10270

December 2016


Your Excellence,

We are writing on behalf of the Asia for Animals Coalition, representing international animal welfare and conservation organisations. We express our deep concern with regards to the suffering of animals at Ragunan Zoo.

Members of our coalition have visited the zoo and witnessed conditions that are causing animals to suffer:

  • In 2015, the zoo provided an assurance to end the chaining of elephants following media exposure of this practice. Despite this assurance, a female elephant has been observed chained within her enclosure and thus prevented from being able to socialise with other elephants and from interacting normally with her calf.
  • A second female elephant appears to have a swollen leg and foot. If this has not been seen by an experienced vet, we recommend it is seen to immediately.
  • At one of the three elephant enclosures, a photographer was observed enticing elephants to the edge of the enclosure so that the public can have their photos taken. This activity appears to be encouraging begging behaviours and should be stopped.
  • Several adult primates are living in social isolation. Primates are social animals and social living provides their greatest source of stimulation. We recommend the zoo carry out an immediate collection plan and seek to find suitable homes for these solitary primates, placing them with others of their own species if appropriate facilities are available.
  • The primates within the circular houses are living in very poor conditions. These enclosures provide very little stimulation and no natural features. We recommend they be prioritised for upgrading as soon as possible and replaced with enclosures which meet the physical and behavioural needs of the animals they house.
  • The housing for the animals in the quarantine area is very poor. This includes small cages for a tiger, otters, binturongs, gibbons, and many birds. These animals are likely to be experiencing poor welfare due to these unsuitable conditions.
  • The sun bears are housed within inadequate concrete enclosures and many are exhibiting pacing behaviours and showing signs of stress.
  • The zoo appears to be overpopulated with several primate species, tigers and sun bears. We recommend collection planning and breeding management is addressed as a matter of urgency, to limit the number of individuals within the zoo.
  • Mice are being used as live feed for many of the reptiles. Over 30 mice and many guinea pigs were observed within a python enclosure. Several of the mice had already died and many more were in a state of severe distress possibly due to lack of food and water. If the zoo must continue to live feed, we recommend that:
    1. the animals placed in the enclosures have appropriate food and water available,
    2. the zoo limit the number of individuals put into enclosures.
  • Chickens were observed being slaughtered by throat cutting. After their throats were cut, they were thrown into a drain to bleed out and die. This is likely to have caused them further stress before death, as they were seen thrashing around on top of each other and in a pool of dirty water. These animals should be killed in a cone where stress following throat cutting can at least be minimised.

The incidents described present a risk to the animals’ health and welfare and are in contravention to Article 29, para f[1] and para g[2]; and Article 30, para f[3], of The Regulation of the Minister of Forestry of the Republic of Indonesia Number: P.31/Menhut-II/2012 on Conservation Agencies.

On behalf of our members globally, we appeal to you to carry out a welfare assessment of the zoo and to address these specific issues as a priority.

Sent on behalf of the following organisations:

  1. Animal Guardians
  2. Animal People
  3. Animals Asia Foundation
  4. ACRES
  5. Blue Cross of India
  6. Change for Animals Foundation
  7. Elephant Aid International
  8. Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations
  9. Humane Society International
  10. International Fund for Animal Welfare
  11. Philippine Animal Welfare Society
  12. Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
  13. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Hong Kong
  14. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Sarawak, Malaysia
  15. World Animal Protection



[1] holders of conservation agencies are prohibited from displaying animals that are gestating, ill, and abnormal (Article 29, para f)

[2] holders of conservation agencies are prohibited from neglecting animals or managing animals not in accordance with animal ethics and welfare (Article 29, para g)

[3] holders of conservation agencies are obliged to intensively manage the conservation agency in accordance with ethics and animal welfare (Article 30, para f)


Copied to:

President Joko Widodo
President Republik Indonesia
Istana Negara
Jalan Medan Merdeka Utara
Jakarta Pusat 10110

Drs. H. Muhammad Jusuf Kalla
Wakil President Republik Indonesia
Jl Medan Merdeka Selatan 6 Kel, Gambir
Jakarta Pusat. 10110

Drs. Setya Novanto, Ak
Chairman of House of Representatives (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat)
Gedung Nusantara III
Jalan Jenderal Gatot Subroto
Jakarta 10270

Gerald Dick
Executive Director
WAZA Executive Office
IUCN Conservation Centre
Rue Mauverney 28
CH_1196 Gland

Basuki Tjahaja Purnama
Governor DKI Jakarta
Jalan Merdeka Selatan Blok 8 – 9 J
akarta Pusat

Bambang Dahono Adji
Directorate of Conservation & Biodiversity, Ministry of Forestry
Gedung Manggala Wanabakti Bld Block VII 7th Floor
Jalan Gatot Subroto
Jakarta 10270

Dr H Rahmat Shah President
Indonesian Zoo and Aquarium Association (PKBSI)
Jl. Harsono RM
No 10 Ragunan
Jakarta, 12550

Tony Sumampau
Secretary General
Indonesian Zoo and Aquarium Association (PKBSI)
Jl. Harsono RM
No 10 Ragunan
Jakarta, 12550

Ms Dina Himawati
Taman Margasatwa Ragunan
Jl Harsono RM. No 1, Ragunan
Pasar Minggu
Jakarta Selatan 12550,

Wahyudi Bambang P
Public Relations
Taman Margasatwa Ragunan Jl Harsono RM. No 1, Ragunan
Pasar Minggu
Jakarta Selatan 12550,

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The Asia For Animals (AfA) Coalition is composed of 16 well-known and respected animal welfare organisations that have a shared focus on improving the welfare of animals in Asia. We are committed to providing support to organisations to help with their campaigns to tackle some of the most pressing animal welfare concerns in the region. Click to see author's profile.

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