Food running out in Bali’s animal conservation centers amid depleted funds

A bird at Bali Bird Park in Gianyar regency. Photo: Unsplash / Sanaea Sanjana
A bird at Bali Bird Park in Gianyar regency. Photo: Unsplash / Sanaea Sanjana

Animal conservation centers across Indonesia are struggling to cover costs for food and medicine amid the COVID-19 pandemic.  

This is especially true in Bali, according to the Indonesian Zoo Association (PKBSI), who called on the government and local administrations to provide the centers with much-needed aid, as PKBSI alone could not save them.

Back in April, the association said that 92 percent of the association’s members ⁠— which comprise zoos located in Sumatra, Java, Bali, Lombok, and Borneo ⁠— only have enough animal feed for another month, while around five percent can only manage for another one to three months.

Then, the Natural Resources Conservation Center (BKSDA) in Bali said that zoos and conservation centers were still able to afford animal feed.

Now, months later, it appears that the situation has grown even more dire that PKBSI is further urging all parties to assist the centers. PKBSI chairman Rahmat Shah said this could be in the form of tax exemptions from the Finance Ministry, a solution for food stock from the Environment and Forestry Ministry, and promotions from the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry to attract more visitors.

Rahmat was also quoted as saying that the situation may force the centers to take extreme alternative measures, including “sacrificing” herbivores that are old and relatively easy to breed in order to feed carnivorous animals.

“The situation is still okay for now, even though we are feeding [the animals] at a minimum. We are not violating regulations, we will not take this route unless we really must. So please help us,” Rahmat said.

Coconuts has reached out to Rahmat for further information and clarification, and will update this story as soon as we hear back from him.

Pande Suastika, Bali Bird Park general manager, said the park prepared a six-month strategy at the beginning of the pandemic, but is now facing a prolonged impact of the public health crisis.

“We anticipated for the change in food stock, and we have a standard between maximum and minimum, we have yet to reach the minimum but we are well on our way,” Pande said, adding that in the case of Bali Bird Park, staff are planting what they could in order to provide more food stock for the birds.

Though conservation centers have reopened with health protocols in place since they temporarily closed in March to curb the spread of the coronavirus, PKBSI said revenue from visitors are still not enough to cover expenses. 

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