Zoo Negara Kuala Lumpur Zoo Review

Zoo Negara, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Zoo Review

The RIGHT-tourism Zoo Review is a quick but informed guide to the quality of places where the public can see animals, including zoos, dolphinariums and other attractions.

We’ve used a range of measures, taken from information available online, to judge how well the animals at the particular zoo or animal attraction are looked after. More than just a ‘review’, the results are actually a Quality Index which will allow tourists and the attractions themselves to judge how well the attractions are performing.

Please note, the information we use is taken from what we assume to be genuine and factually correct comments from reviews, blogs and news stories. If there are factual inaccuracies, please let us know and we will make the relevant changes.

RIGHT-tourism Zoo Review Rating for: Zoo Negara, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Zoo_Review_Stamp_Unacceptable

Summary

This zoo was set up in 1963 as the first, and national, zoo of Malaysia with an open-plan ethos, but it has since fallen far away from its original premise. Now reported as a “death sentence” for the animals that live there, it is currently under investigation for corruption and maladministration.

Small bare cages, bad diet, untrained staff, lacking a suitable vet, chaining animals and animal shows are just some of the problems that plague this “zoo”. Seemingly more like a prison than a zoo, Zoo Negara appears to need significant change before it should be allowed to keep animals any longer.

I did manage to find some positives within the zoo, however:  the new pandas, currently on loan for 10 years, live in a custom built enclosure with air conditioning and visitors only allowed 15-20 mins viewing time in a silent atmosphere. This, unfortunately, appears to be a way of making money from the animals rather than to protect these delicate animals as you must pay extra to visit this “star attraction”.   If they had applied this level of care throughout their zoo then the animals could be much more protected here.

They do have a breeding and reintroduction program, but as stated in my notes, this feels more like lip service to conservation ideas than a practical plan to help the animals.

Overall this is one of the poorest zoos I have heard about and the fact it is a national and large zoo disgusts me as to its condition. A totally unacceptable place and one that, according to all reports, should be either changed and updated quickly with animal welfare a priority or closed down and the animals moved to sanctuaries or zoo that can care for them.

Zoo Negara c Travelihub.com

Section One: Social Media and News

This section looks at how the attraction is rated by people on key reviewing sites, and in blogs/the media. The reviews are often not concerned with animal welfare, so this section has a lower influence on the overall mark than other sections. However, it is an important measure of the way the attraction is viewed by visitors.

Number of negative TripAdvisor reviews

For the most recent 20 reviews which appear on the official TripAdvisor page for the attraction, how many mention animal welfare in a negative way. The score is worked out as a percentage (see method below).

Number of negative reviews:  10/20

Score: 1.5 points

There are many negative reviews of this place and most of these concentrate on the use of shows and the poor state of the animals’ cages and mental health. The zoo is undergoing extensive reconstruction at the moment, so maybe the cages are in the process of being rebuilt. However a zoo should place the care and health of its animals as its highest priority. This does not appear to be the case as the panda enclosure is air-conditioned and luxury, while other (less profitable) animals seem to get bad living conditions whilst renovations occur.
No positive reviews about animal welfare were seen and the rest were neutral, concerned with the zoo experience and not the animals.

Number of negative Google reviews

For the most recent 20 reviews which appear on the Google search page for the attraction, how many mention animal welfare in a negative way. The score is worked out as a percentage (see method below).

Number of negative reviews:  5/20

Score: 2 points

Only five negative reviews of the zoo were visible on Google reviews and, as above, these were centred on ‘sad’ looking animals, poor living conditions and shows. Again no positive reviews were available and those neutral ones were sparse in their descriptions (as is normal of Google reviews).

Number of negative news articles and blogs
For the most recent 10 independent blogs or news articles for the attraction, how many mention animal welfare in a negative way. The score is worked out as a percentage (see method below).

Number of negative mentions:  9/10

Score: 0 points

There are many and varied bad news articles about this zoo. Currently the zoo is under national investigation into bad management and corruption within its structure. There are reports that the animals keepers are unknowledgeable and untrained in caring for the animals in their care. The zoo has no experts or conservationists working for them, and, possibly worst of all, there is no exotics vet that works for the zoo.
The food given to the animals is “mainly left-overs” due to staff eating it first. Their volunteer program also doesn’t provide education, but appears to be a free clean up service for the zoo grounds and these passionate people don’t even get to help the animals. This zoo seems to fail on most, if not all, counts to provide for the animals and visitors.

Total Score for Social Media and News Section:  3.5/10

Section Two: General Quality of Life

This section looks generally at how the animals, as a whole, appear to be treated. It is based on the internationally recognised Five Freedoms, which focus on key aspects of animal welfare including feeding, housing, health, behaviour and protection from fear/distress.

Each item is scored as either two points for a Yes, zero points for a No or one point for Possibly. (The “Possibly” category also includes situations where the answer would be Sometimes; or if the answer is unknown).

Absence of prolonged hunger and/or thirst

Score: No   0 Points

With reports of the animals eating “left-overs” and of their emaciated state there is little likelihood that the animals are not hungry.

Being fed an appropriate diet based on their wild diet

Score: No   0 Points

It’s unlikely if the animals are so skinny that the diet they do have in nutritious enough for their needs

Ease of movement within living quarters

Score: No   0 Points

Reports of small cages which are ill-equipped for the animals needs, elephants chained in their enclosures and overcrowding in some exhibits.

Enrichment in living quarters (eg climbing frame, toys etc)

Score: Possibly   1 Points

Some photos show climbing frames and other enrichment devices, but many enclosures seem bare and uninspiring.

Absence of injuries or disease

Score: No   0 Points

With no specialist vet to check the animals, injuries and disease can not be determined or treated if they are present. One photo from Tripadvisor showed a dead chicken floating in the water of a reptile vivarium whilst another looked on, surely a breeding ground for future illness for animals and (supposed) food.

Absence of pain (eg being not being chained, or not being hit by staff)

Score: No   0 Points

Clear photos of elephants chained and untrained staff would also unlikely be able to maintain the animals’ respect without violence. Please note there are NO reports of violence, but it is a course of action generally taken by untrained individuals when caring for animals.

Ability to express natural and social behaviours in living quarters

Score: No   0 Points

In some of the larger enclosures it could be possible for animals to express natural behaviour this zoos uses of small cages and having animal shows means it will always repress more natural behaviours than it allows.

Good human-animal relationship with staff

Score: Possibly   1 Points

Once again there are no reports saying one way or another that the animals and staff respect each other. My thoughts would be no due to the lack of specific training of the staff, however benefit of the doubt must be given to the staff here who may well care diligently for their charges.

Absence of general fear/distress/apathy

Score: No   0 Points

Reports of “sad” and “mental” animals, while not scientific in language, leads me to believe that the animals live in a state of distress due to their surroundings.

Ability to seek privacy/refuge from humans and other animals

Score: No   0 Points

Unlikely. There are reports that the zoo has a lot of vegetation in some of the enclosures. However, there are reports of bare and small cages so this has to be a No.

Total Score for General Quality of Life:  2/20

Section Three: Interaction with the Public

This section focusses on the way the attraction allows the public to touch, play with, photograph, feed or otherwise interact with the animals. The focus is on whether or not the interactions are causing harm or stress/discomfort to the animals, and if they could be dangerous to the public.

Each item is scored as either two points for a Yes, zero points for a No or one point for Possibly. (The “Possibly” category also includes situations where the answer would be Sometimes; or if the answer is unknown).

The interactions are not harmful in any way for the animal’s welfare

Score: No   0 Points

This zoo has “animal shows” which are generally considered to be detrimental to welfare because of some of the training methods.

The interactions are not harmful in any way for the public’s welfare (any previous history of dangerous incidents)

Score: Possibly   1 Points

Having no exotics vet could run the risk of communicable diseases between the animals and humans.

The animals are not forced to interact with the public – they can refuse

Score: No   0 Points

Again animals shows do not allow for animals refuse the interactions.

The public are not allowed to handle the animals and touch them

Score: No   0 Points

It seems to be a “hands off” zoo, but there are photos of the visitors feeding elephants across the moat to their enclosure.

The interactions are supervised by staff and in an educational context

Score: No   0 Points

There are reports of the staff not being able to answer questions from the public, but this is completely understandable from an untrained and ill-equipped work force.

Total Score for Interaction with the Public:  1/10

 

Section Four: Conservation and Education

This section looks at whether or not the attraction has a focus on conservation – for example does it support animals in the wild through breeding programmes, research or donations; and education – are visitors informed about the animals so they are not simply seen as objects for human amusement/entertainment.

Each item is scored as either two points for a Yes, zero points for a No or one point for Possibly. (The “Possibly” category also includes situations where the answer would be Sometimes; or if the answer is unknown).

Are some of the animals part of international breeding programs?

Score: Possibly   1 Points

There are research papers of captive breeding of milky storks and false gharials available on their website, but are two programs sufficient for a national zoo of this size? These programs are good for the individual species, but with a lack of adequate overall programs and seemingly no other involvement in conservation is appears to this reviewer to be nothing more than lip service to the idea.

Is there evidence of them having released animals into the wild?

Score: Yes   2 Points

At least one reintroduction program has occurred because of the zoo, this being for the Milky Stork

Do they actively undertake scientific research into conservation/behaviour of their animals?

Score: No   0 Points

No evidence of scientific research into conservation or behaviour within the zoo and lack of scientists and experts working for the zoo could explain this.

Does the attraction give money to conservation or animal protection programmes?

Score: No   0 Points

Again no information is available as to who they support after an extensive internet search.

Does the attraction provide educational talks or written displays to inform visitors about the animals?

Score: No   0 Points

Many complaints about the lack of signage and the only talks that are apparent are the animal shows and any educational information given here is overshadowed and degraded by the disrespect given to the animals here.

Total Score for Conservation and Education:  3/10

 

Zoo Review Final Score for Zoo Negara, Kuala Lumpur:  9.5/50

Rating: 0-10: Unacceptable – the animal welfare at this attraction appears to be of a very low standard and a cause of great concern

 

Do you agree or disagree with this Zoo Review? Please let us know in the Comments below.
If you are from this attraction and would like to comment on this Zoo Review, we’ll be happy to publish your response. Please email info@careforthewild.com or click
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Notes

  1. This report was compiled on: 15th November 2014 by Tim Reynolds. Find out more about our Zoo Review campaign here.
  2. Zoo Review Final Score is given out of 50 as a sum of the four sections, then a RIGHT-tourism Zoo Review rating is awarded based on this score:

0-10: Unacceptable – the animal welfare at this attraction appears to be of a very low standard and a cause of great concern
11-20: Poor – it appears that significant improvement is needed in order to meet welfare standards
21-30: Average – the attraction scores well in some areas but improvements would be welcome
31-40: Good – Public opinion and animal welfare measures suggest that the animals here are looked after well
41-50: Best in Class – the welfare of the animals appears to be of a very high standard

  1. TripAdvisor and Google scores are worked out by dividing the number of negative welfare reviews by the total (20) and multiplying by 100 to give a percentage, then giving a score out of 2.5 as follows:

0-19% negative 2.5 points
20-39% 2 points
40-59% 1.5 points
60-79% 1 point
80-89% 0.5 point
90–100% 0 points

  1. News and blog scores are worked out by dividing the number of negative welfare reviews by the total (10) and multiplying by 100 to give a percentage, then giving a score out of 5 as follows:

0-19% negative 5 points
20-39% 4 points
40-59% 3 points
60-79% 2 point
80-89% 1 point
90–100% 0 points

 





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