“Zoo of Death”

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Indonesian officials are investigating the mysterious death of an African lion found hanged in his own cage in Indonesia’s “zoo of death”, where a number of animals have perished due to neglect, starvation and mistreatment in the past few years. The 18-month-old lion was found suspended from the roof by steel cables on Tuesday in Surabaya zoo, east Java, where the eighth animal to die at the zoo in the last 10 months.

Agus Supangkat, a spokesman for the zoo, denied any wrongdoing and said the lion, called Michael, must have caught himself accidentally in between the cables. “Michael was relatively young – he was only one and a half years old,” he told the Jakarta Globe. “It could be that he was playing around and somehow his head got stuck.” But forestry minister Zulkifli Hasan ruled out an accidental death and said there would need to be an investigation. “We want the perpetrator arrested. The death of the lion seems to have been caused intentionally,” he was quoted as saying by the national news agency Antara. Police are investigating the cause of Michael’s death but initial efforts were hampered after it was discovered the lion’s body had been cut down before officials could inspect the cage.

 Surabaya zoo was built under Dutch colonial rule and is home to about 3,500 creatures, including African lions, elephants and capuchin monkeys. But a number of animals have died there in recent years, among them a Sumatran tiger who ate meat laced with formaldehyde and a giraffe that had an 18kg ball of plastic in its stomach – the result of consuming plastic wrappers discarded in its cage by visitors. In 2010, it was estimated that about 25 animals at Surabaya zoo were dying prematurely every month.

Michael’s death this week followed that of a wildebeest just two days earlier, who was found dead from stomach problems. Conservationists point to a lack of animal welfare at the zoo and have raised concerns over possible staff involvement in illegal wildlife trafficking.

 Rosek Nursahid, the director of animal charity group Pro Fauna Indonesia, told local media that mismanagement at the zoo was to blame and warned that tourists would be boycotting the zoo and city in protest at the animals’ treatment. An online petition has requested the government to close the zoo, but no other facility has apparently offered to take on the remaining animals.

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BENO

Animals living in misery, suffering from malnutrition and
neglect at the “Zoo of Death” in Indonesia

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End fur farms

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As fashion weeks concludes in New York City, I have seen in disgust far too many people wearing the skin of another animal – an animal forced to live in a cramped, filthy cage before having the hide ripped from his or her back. This is a pretty gruesome fashion choice and shouldbe condemned by the industry. The only “statement” it makes is that the wearer has a total lack of regard for animals’ suffering. Too many “models” this past week were seen wearing belts, boots, handbags, and coats made from the suffering of animals. When I asked several of these “models” why they made this choice to wear the skin of another animal, the response was “um, I don’t know” and the shrug of shoulders. Cleary education of animal cruelty has not yet become important in the fashion industry.

The fur industry’s victims include 1 billion rabbits and 2 million cats and dogs each year in addition to fox and minks. Many of these animals are skinned while they are still alive, and their hearts may continue beating for five to 10 minutes after their bloody bodies are tossed aside by fur farm workers. Other animals languish for days in traps or are gassed, beaten or electrocuted.

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Fur farming is illegal in some countries but not all. China and Ireland are just two countries that allow this disgraceful practice to continue. Avoid buying fashion products from these countries and others that allow these defenseless animals to live in horror and suffering.

Join the Wildlife Conservation Film Festival (WCFF) to end animal cruelty, suffering and to preserve global biodiversity. www.WCFF.org