The Surabaya Zoo, the site of countless disturbing animal deaths that have earned it the moniker "zoo of death" is making headlines again in Indonesia -- this time as the subject of a plea by one of the nation's foremost news outlets. The Jakarta Globe, one of two of the largest English-language dailies with a print run of about 40,000, published a staff op-ed titled, "Editorial: Surabaya Zoo Deaths Shame Our Nation" on Monday.
The piece cited the almost 50 animals that have died at the park since last July and called on government officials to stop the "source of humiliation for Indonesia."
The case has become a matter of national pride, which makes it incumbent on President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to step in immediately and order officials in Jakarta and Surabaya to find a solution to stop the cruelty. While it's not easy, the quick solution seems simple: provide enough staff and food for the animals, and improve the facilities.
The president should also ask the police to step in and investigate the deaths of the animals, while the Corruption Eradication Commission must send a team to probe allegations of corruption that has left the zoo unable to buy food for its animals.
The zoo, which was written about by journalist Richard Shears for The Dodo, has been the subject of countless international media stories, earning a bevy of bad press for the nation. The Globe's op-ed ended with a poignant plea:
No less a figure than Mahatma Gandhi once said that the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. It is time we pay heed to those words.