The Surabaya Zoo in Indonesia is dealing yet another tragic death of an animal -- just days after a wildebeest was found dead in its enclosure. An 18-month-old lion named Michael got its head stuck between steel cables in his cage and was found dead, hanging from the ceiling, by a keeper on Tuesday morning.
Surabaya Zoo spokesman Agus Supangkat told The Jakarta Globe that to protect keepers, the zoo uses steel cables to secure the cage -- that way, zookeepers don't have to manually open or close the cage door with their hands.
"We are still investigating how the steel cables could entrap the African lion's head," Agus said.
He declined to confirm that Michael's needless death was caused by zookeepers' negligence.
"Michael was relatively young, he was only one-and-half-years old; it could be that he was playing around and somehow his head got stuck," he said.
A photo of the lion can be seen over at the Daily Mail [WARNING: Disturbing images].
In response, the Surabaya police have opened an investigation into Michael's death, though it looks as if the zoo is not cooperating. When police arrived, the animal's body had been removed and detectives chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Farman would not confirm to the Globe whether the zoo was trying to hamper the investigation by getting rid of the lion's remains.
The zoo has made international headlines for alleged animal welfare violations -- between July and September last year, 43 animals died within its confines, including a giraffe found with nearly 90 pounds of plastic in its stomach and a tiger fed with meat laced with formaldehyde. The public deaths have earned the park the nickname "zoo of death" in the media. According to the Globe, however, the bad publicity may not close the zoo anytime soon:
Animal rights activists have called for the zoo's closure, but later retreated action over concerns that the estimated 3,000 remaining animals would struggle to find new homes.