KOTA KINABALU - A mini zoo set up for wildlife awareness education in Sabah's east coast Tawau 21-years ago at a primary school was shut down on Thursday after the animals were found to be kept in squalid conditions.
Yuk Chin Mini Zoo was shut down and some 50 animals and various birds were confiscated from the zoo that was initially set up by the SJKC Yuk Chin and the Wildlife Department as an educational programme in 1994.
However, over the years there was little done for the upkeep of the zoo by their management
Without any monitoring by relevant wildlife officials over the years the zoos pathetic conditions were only highlighted by a NGOs.
Recently appointed Sabah Wildlife Department director William Baya ordered the Wildlife Rescue Unit and the department's Tawau office to rescue the zoo exhibits yesterday.
"I have instructed the Tawau Wildlife Department Office and our Wildlife Rescue Unit to oversee the rescue of all the animals there," Baya said Thursday.
He said the Yuk Chin Primary school has been operating this mini Zoo for more than 20 years now and though its main purpose is to educate its pupils about wildlife awareness, there is no excuse for not keeping the animals correctly and humanely.
Baya also ordered a freeze throughout the state in the issuance of all new mini zoo licences.
He also ordered for inspections to be carried out at all present mini zoo licence holders to make sure that the animals that they are keeping are housed and fed correctly.
He said that among the animals confiscated included estuarine crocodiles, wild boar,, Long tail Macaques, a Binturong, other small mammals and various other bird species Wildlife rangers expect to take at least two days to rescue and translocate the animals and those fit would be released back to the wild, he added.