Developing Animal Welfare Standards in Indonesian Zoos


Jakarta, 25 January 2017 – Jakarta Animal Aid Network, otherwise known as JAAN, receives tens and tens of complaints monthly from concerned citizens about Indonesian zoos – especially the Surabaya Zoo and Bandung Zoo. The animals are clearly suffering, even their basic welfare needs being withheld.

We have been going to and from the Surabaya zoo since 2010, and other zoos around Indonesia regularly, and have requested the government to work with us to help improve the zoos’ conditions. Yet the government decided they want to work with Perhimpunan Kebun Binatang Seluruh Indonesia (PKBSI), which is a local organization set up by zoo owners. They are not interested in improving welfare conditions for animals at all – their interest lies in making a profit.

This explains the problems with all zoos, why dolphin travel shows continue to exist in Indonesia, why the Surabaya zoo after years and years of exposure and pressure for change still has made no serious animal welfare improvements, and why Ragunan Zoo in Jakarta still keeps tens of adult orangutans in isolation. All because the government entrusts the wrong people to control zoos: an association which should be overseeing these animal parks, but is in fact active in animal trade and exploitation. For this reason, many infamous Indonesian animal parks, such as the Surabaya Zoo, continue to earn their global reputation of being the cruelest animal parks in the world.

JAAN, Animal Friends Jogja (AFJ) and other animal protection groups in Indonesia receive tens of reports every month about animal cruelty in parks throughout the country. This week alone, reports and complaints came regarding Bandung Zoo, Surabaya Zoo, animal parks in Bukittinggi, Kedaton, lampung, and Palangkaraya, and Ragunan Zoo, where an orangutan juvenile hung herself. Meanwhile, the video of the sun bears begging for food from visitors in Bandung Zoo became viral on social media around the world.

All the problems in these animal parks, dubiously named “Lembaga Konservasi” (conservation institutes), could be solved if PKBSI were closed down completely and the Forestry Department were to form a new, neutral team to enforce strict animal welfare standards in all Indonesian animal parks. Most Indonesian animal parks do not fulfill even the most basic conditions necessary to care for wild animals, such as providing shelter from extreme weather, fresh drinking water and food, or even proper medical care.

In 2011 the Indonesian Forestry Department developed a basic protocol for animal welfare, yet the guidelines in the protocol have never been enforced, and never will as long the current PKBSI is entrusted with the task. Indonesia also currently hosts a travel show with dolphins, showing that animal welfare clearly is of no importance to the government at this moment.

We implore the government to remove the PKBSI as its government advisory body in developing good zoo / animal park management, as they have clearly lost any claim to neutrality.


(Featured image: bear begging for food at the Bandung Zoo. Credit Scorpion Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network, fair use)

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  1. On behalf of those without human speech I thank you for hard work and for drawing attention to their suffering. For myself, I can only weep, but if my voice can help you have it willingly. Please keep making the world aware of what is being done to animals, let’s keep fighting for them.

    • Yes, I agree with you on putting this extremely important matter into other capable hands . I don’t KNOW much about Indonesian Laws .
      But I will help you by signing and passing the word.,.. However, the Zoos here in America are in need to CONTINUE the fine jobs they do here. Here I believe it is not a health, food issue for the ANIMALS,. BUT for the safety of PEOPLE. The ones who don’t follow rules and go beyond safety Zone and are injured. But that is another matter. So I will continue to back what you think is best way to handle your situations.

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