Zoo Negara – Sanctuary or Death Sentence?

I made a visit to Zoo Negara some time last year, because I haven’t been there since my parents brought me in 1995, and I wanted to see the new pandas.

It was upsetting. The entire zoo’s condition is appalling!

I cannot believe that our national zoo, the place that attracts visitors from all over the world and boasts a population of over 5,000 animals in its care – can be in such horrendous condition. For one, the place stinks. You can smell it from the moment you enter.

I have been to zoos in other countries, and they do not smell or looks as bad as ours do. Some ‘authorities’ representing the zoo argues that the smell is because of our hot weather. I would like to argue that the zoo in Bali also operates under the same tropical sun as we do, but when I went there, it was so clean and does not smell bad. So what is the problem really? I believe it is the zoo’s lack of discipline and lazy staff.

The place looks really old and run down as well, with animals living in cages from the sixties and terribly stained glass in the penguin enclosure. Okay, so it’s old and it costs a lot to renovate. All those millions have gone to building that gigantic conservation centre for the two new pandas. Fine.

But what’s unacceptable is how thin and skinny all the animals are, especially the Sumatran tiger which was sitting in the shade, so I couldn’t capture his photo! Even the buffalos and elephants look skinny.

An anonymous source who works in the zoo states that, “There isn’t a proper animal expert working for the zoo, only a general vet who tends to all animals, even the exotic ones. The zoo has not consulted a zoologist in over a decade. Some of the animals are even fed leftovers from the staff’s meal.”

It’s so sad. I love zoos and the chance to see all these amazing animals up close. Zoo Negara has done such a terrible job that it makes me reluctant to visit ever again. Not even if they bring in 10 pandas would I ever go back.

Since I spent the day there anyway, here are some photos of the animals.

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I found this fella really funny because he looks like an overgrown guinea pig! It’s a capybara by the way.

Zoo Negara Malaysia

We found this tapir sitting in the drainage area (instead of his grassy home) and we think he might have fallen in, but no zookeeper seems to be bothered with getting him out. 😡

Zoo Negara Malaysia

A very skinny and tiny kangaroo. Just look at the miserable amount of grass growing in his enclosure! Compared to what we saw in Australia, this is really sad.

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Even the buffalos are skinny. 😦

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This gorgeous leopard’s enclosure is so small, dirty and sad – his eyes and face were so dull and lacklustre. It makes me really sad. 😦

Zoo Negara Malaysia

I think the only animals who have it good are the pandas. The government spent a whopping MYR25 million to build the fully air-conditioned conservation site for the two pandas – which are on loan from China for 10 years. That amount of money spent, and they can’t even spare some money for the rest of the zoo? Outrageous.

There was also a queue to get in, and we waited for about half an hour, just to view the pandas for 15 minutes before being ushered out again. They were cute though, but Zoo Negara has jacked up the entry prices to the point where it isn’t even worth those 15 minutes. Sigh.

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Other than the pandas, the only other thing thriving in this zoo are the insects. They are given loads of sweet fruits and flowers to feast on, and there are so many species flying all over the enclosure.

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Zoo Negara was so disappointing, and a lot of the things I saw inside there made me really sad and angry. I wish that Malaysians could learn to be more caring towards animals. The authorities should be stricter when it comes to sure poor care, bordering on abandonment. The animals look like they are just awaiting their long-life death sentence in their dirty and restricted space. It’s a disgrace to all foreigners (and locals) who come into the zoo, expecting joy but leaving with a broken heart.

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