Shocking images of malnourished sun bears inside a dirty cage in an Indonesian zoo have sparked massive outrage on social media, igniting multiple petitions from concerned groups to pressure the local government to close the zoo and save the animals.
Animal welfare group Scorpion released video footage taken earlier this month at Bandung zoo in Java showing the sorry state of the bears who were so starved, they were scrambling for food from visitors, the Straits Times reported.
The group stated that the sun bears in the zoo also looked too far from their normal healthy weight of 80 kg (176 lb) and noted that they have been like that for months.
In a separate video taken last year, one poor animal was seen eating its own feces out of hunger.
“When my team visited the zoo last week there was no grass or live trees on the floor of their cage,” Scorpion director Gunung Gea told Daily Mail. “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.”
According to Scorpion, while the zoo claimed that the bear was placed under medical care, no further details were provided so they wrote to the head of BBKSDA to get more information about the condition of the bear. Volunteers from the group had reportedly sought permission from the zoo operators to visit and inspect the animals but were refused access.
In its online petition that has so far accumulated over 4,600 signatures, the group has called on Bandung mayor Ridwan Kamil to have the zoo shut down.
A separate petition launched by animal activist Tori Hollingsworth is also demanding for the zoo to be closed immediately.
“The bears are extremely thin and very hungry. Appalled visitors give them junk food to try and keep them alive,” she was quoted as saying. “It is obvious that this zoo is not helping the animals. It is nothing short of a prison.”