In 2009 I visited the Bali Zoo near Ubud in Bali. Finances must be low at this zoo as some of the animals at this Zoo look depressed & bored in small or barren enclosures/cages. What broke my heart the most though was Jacky the male Orangutan. His enclosure has no trees in, it is made of concrete & very short grass surrounded by a water moat to prevent him from escaping.
Orangutans are highly intelligent animals and need daily stimulation and good diets to be happy & healthy in captivity. The zoo resources are minimal.
At first I was outside his enclosure by myself just talking quietly to him, he sat facing a caged door and looked depressed, after 20mins of quietly talking to him he turned his head slightly to look at me. He looked so sad. Then a large group of noisy tourists came and were trying to talk to him and make him active by throwing fruit & other things at him and suddenly he exploded with rage, grabbed some banana skins and old fruit and threw it back at the tourists whilst making large grunting/growling sounds until they all ran away.(this is frequent behaviour as there is a sign erected to warn of this) He was so upset, he then went back to the caged door and held on to it with both hands and his body was shaking violently for 10mins and he was very unhappy. I went around the corner to a little cage that faced the cage door he was looking thru, he was about 1m from me and he could see me.
I knelt down and spoke to him in a very soft, soothing voice to try to calm him down and he did calm down.I made a quiet promise to Jacky there and then.
It made me very upset to see this beautiful male orangutan so unhappy, depressed and angry. He has nothing to stimulate him, no other Orangutan company, no trees with platforms in for him to go up high and get away from everyone. All he can do is eat when they feed him or visitors throw food at him and sleep in this concrete cave they have built for him which is still in full view of the tourists who come to look and he is still on the ground within it. I left his enclosure crying and determined to try to get something done to change his situation.I
I don't know how long he has been living at Bali Zoo but I get very upset each time I think about how long he may have to endure this. Orangutans are very intelligent animals and need to be able to exhibit their natural behaviours and be stimulated to be even half happy and he may have another 30yrs in this enclosure.
When I returned from Bali that year I wrote to many organisations, tourism associations and governments to try to help him but had no one replied.
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