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Wildlife rescuers attending to a crocodile, which is among the over 50 animals being rescued from the Yuk Chin Mini Zoo. - Photo courtesy of Sabah Wildlife Department
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KOTA KINABALU, Sept 17, 2015:
Sabah Wildlife Department today froze all applications to operate new mini zoos in the state, and launched a statewide operation against badly run zoos.
Its director William Baya said a directive had been issued to all wildlife officers that no new licences for mini zoos be issued.
“We also want to ensure that the existing licence holders will keep their zoos clean and well kept,” he said, in the wake of their recent rescue operation at the Yuk Chin Mini Zoo in Tawau.
Baya said the mini zoo was set up by the Yuk Chin Primary School over 20 years ago with the intention of educating its pupils on the importance of wildlife conservation.
“But unfortunately the animals were not well kept and the cages were in poor condition.
“Our wildlife department officers in Tawau and the Wildlife Rescue Unit will oversee the rescue operations of the animals which begin today.”
Over 50 animals, which among others include estuarine crocodiles, wild boar, long tail macaques, binturong, small mammals and various other bird species, were confiscated from the zoo.
“It will probably take the rescuers at least two days to translocate the animals.
“All the animals will be assessed medically and wherever possible, will be released back into the wild,” Baya said.
The operation followed an article published by United Kingdom’s Daily Mail two days ago about the poor conditions the animals were kept in.
The Daily Mail posted photos including a schoolboy seen laughing as he kicked a frightened monkey peering out from behind a wire cage, before moving to another, much to the amusement of his friends.
Describing it as “the zoo from hell”, it also reported that a crocodile, living in a pond in its own urine, was occasionally tossed dead dogs and cats to eat.