Undernourished and starving sun bears in an Indonesian zoo – appearing to be so hungry that they beg visitors for food and eating their own feces have been recorded on videos enraging animal rights activists.
In video footage, recorded by the advocacy group, Scorpion Wildlife Trade Monitoring Group, several gaunt bears at the zoo located in the Indonesian city of Bandung, have stirred tremendous outrage throughout social media. Notably bears do not beg for food; one of the videos shows a heartbreaking scene of an obviously starving bear rushing over as visitors throw bits of fruit down to the animal. One of the bears was so desperate for food, he is seen on video defecating and then eating his own feces.
Reviews from tourists of the zoo from Trip Advisor reflect the seriousness of the situation:
“Rusty cages, dirty place and really neglected animals. Some of them are very thin. Hell on earth for all these poor animals,” one of the comments stated.
Another review stated,”Please do not give your money to this facility. The animals are dying of neglect. They are fed only on food donations, and when there are no donations they starve. The bears are surviving by eating their feces. A giraffe died there by ingesting plastic because it was so hungry. There is no veterinarian on staff and animals who become…”
Sun bears originate from forests in Southeast Asia and are currently classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Volunteers from other advocacy groups state the bears are only a fraction of what their healthy weight should be. Access to examine the bears physically has been denied by zoo officials. According to the Daily Mail Australia, the director of Scorpion, Ganung Gea, stated:
“When my team visited the zoo last week there was no grass or live trees on the floor of their cage. We saw a sun bear eating its own dung, but when we contacted the zoo’s officers, they told us the bear was medicated and we weren’t allowed to see it.”
Bandung is Indonesia’s third largest city with a population of over 2.4 million. It’s also one of the country’s top tourist hotspots.