Indonesian zoo reviewed over orangutan's death

The West Sumatra Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) will evaluate the Kandi Wildlife Park in Sawahlunto city regarding the death of a three-month pregnant orangutan.

West Sumatra BKSDA head Margo Utomo said his team, together with the Indonesian Zoo Association and primate experts from Padang's Andalas University, would conduct the evaluation at the Kandi Wildlife Park next week.

"We will thoroughly evaluate the conditions at the Kandi Wildlife Park, including cages and enclosures, medical workers and feed, and send the outcomes and suggestions to Jakarta and the Sawahlunto municipality," Margo told the media in Padang on Monday.

The outcomes of the evaluation will include notes on improvements and a time limit. "If they fail to meet the requirements within the specified time, we will take drastic measures, such as revoking their license, but it depends on the team of experts," he said.

Margo added that the BKSDA always conducted monitoring, but not thorough evaluations, on Kandi. In April this year, the BKSDA's monitoring found the number of personnel remained limited. Based on the latest information this month, medical staffers at the park had asked to be transferred.

Fifteen-year-old Sari, an orangutan from Kalimantan, was brought to Kandi in September 2010. She arrived with two male orangutans two years older than her, named Rambo and Botak.

On May 13, the two male orangutans were fighting over Sari. Animal keepers had placed Sari in quarantine in a small cage, but she escaped when the two males were in a state of rage and fighting to mate her. As a result, Sari suffered a broken collar bone and left thigh.

She was treated at the Kandi Clinic for two days, but was eventually referred to the Padang City Animal Husbandry Office clinic on May 15.

"Doctors planned to rescue the baby, but Sari's condition was too weak. Her child had apparently died and Sari eventually died on May 16 at midnight and her body was returned to Kandi," said Margo.

According to Margo, the park's management handled the situation based on standard operating procedures, but a thorough evaluation must be carried out to prevent any similar incidents from occurring.

Sari was the icon of Kandi Wildlife Park last year. She gave birth for the first time normally and healthily on March 27, 2014. It was the first birth at Kandi since the park opened in 2006. The male baby was named Mikail, and had to be tended by a keeper who took him home at night as the three other adult orangutans refused his presence.

Kandi Wildlife Park manager Zainal Zamza expressed deep regret over Sari's death.

"It was purely an accident and not our neglect. The two male orangutans were on heat and fought over the female and a pull and tug occurred which damaged her ankle," Zainal told The Jakarta Post.

He said he would follow any recommendations for improvement from the BKSDA. "Don't let the park be closed. It was built by the Padang municipality with a big struggle and has now become a favourite attraction of the community," he added.

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