A consumer group said it is time to close zoos in the country as it requires high operating costs in addition to causing the animals to be abused.
Penang Consumers Association (CAP) president Mohideen Abdul Kader said the Covid-19 pandemic had forced the zoo management to spend more money to ensure all animals were taken care of.
He said the implementation of the full ban also affected the zoo which largely relied on ticket collection fees and financial assistance from sponsors and visitors.
“The annual operating cost to care for two giant pandas from China was RM2.25 million in 2015 and it does not include the cost of caring for 5,000 other animal species,” he said in a statement.
Mohideen said, the act of confining animals can also cause them to be stressed and difficult to detoxify, lack resilience and reproduce.
He said it was also considered cruel when animals were used as presentation material at zoos, theme parks and marine parks.
If scientists want to study wildlife, they can now do so electronically through global positioning systems (GPS), tracking collars and remote control cameras.
“Scientists don’t have to lock it in a zoo to keep an eye on the animals,” he said.
Mohideen urged the authorities to no longer adopt the old concept by creating a zoo as it was “an old relic of cruelty to wildlife”.
“What is the purpose of protecting wildlife in the zoo while its natural habitat is being snatched and exploited?
“Therefore, we reiterate our stance that it is time for the zoo to close,” he said.