The pandemic has hit tourism severely with airlines grounded and public attractions closed. Even our National Zoo, Zoo Negara is in dire state and has been making headlines as it reaches out to the public for help to keep it afloat.
However, that doesn’t seem to be the case with Melaka Zoo. As reported by The Animal News, the Hang Tuah Jaya Municipal Council (MPHTJ) has bought an African Lion for RM100,000.
After news broke, netizens began questioning the decision to buy the lion as the country is facing the economic challenges brought by the pandemic, and also that not many visitors are currently available as international and inter-state travel bans are still in effect.
However, Melaka Zoo begged to differ and explained that the purchase of the new lion was to replace their two old lions that are inappropriate for exhibitions and educational purposes.
MPHTJ President Datuk Shadan Othman also explained that the purchase of the lion is for a lion conservation effort in the future.
Arie Dwi Andika, President of the Malaysian Animal Association strongly condemned the zoo’s action, stating that buying and placing the lion in the zoo does not make a difference, just like the government’s decision to take pandas from China and put them in the National Zoo as longterm care for these animals is hard to give.
He also expressed that this is not the right time to purchase animals as the economy is at its worst and zoos have been receiving fewer visitors but the local council said that the decision to purchase the lion has been long made and could not be withdrawn.
Arie also mentioned the National Zoo’s struggle and how they are suffering from a lack of funds at the moment, and how Melaka Zoo has not learned from the mistake in 2014 whereby the pandas were accepted based on a one-sided deal in favour of China which Malaysia could not live up to.
According to Arie, since the Malayan Tiger, tapirs and elephants are facing extinction in our country, it should be our government’s priority to protect local wildlife rather than animals from another country that are born in captivity and aren’t under any immediate threat.