Tuesday February 19, 2013
By R.S.N. MURALI
MALACCA: The hunt is on for the killers of a 14-year-old female Malayan Sun Bear and an Arabian stallion at the Malacca Zoo.
Visitors alerted the zoo keepers when they saw a male Sun Bear lying protectively over the still body of its partner at about 5pm on Sunday.
“The keepers rushed to the site and found the animal lifeless,” said zoo veterinarian Dr Zubaidah Kamarudin.
A post-mortem revealed that the bear had eaten a banana laced with toxin.
An autopsy is yet to be performed on the 17-year-old horse “Basket” which was found dead by groomer P. Lohan around 7am yesterday.
“We have yet to identify the type of poison used but have lodged a police report,” Dr Zubaidah added.
She also said poison-laced oranges, bananas and sugar canes were found in the enclosures of a chimpanzee and two orang utans, which are believed to have refused to eat them because of the pungent smell. The feed has been sent to the Chemistry Department.
The zoo is not taking any chances. “We are monitoring the condition of the animals round the clock,” added Dr Zubaidah.
State CID deputy chief expressed confidence in catching the culprits soon.
He declined to elaborate but sources said police were looking for two former zoo workers seen at the elephants’ enclosure on Sunday trying to feed the animals.
“They ran off carrying a package when ex-colleagues spotted them,” a source said.
The sources believe the two were linked to private zoo operators.
It is learnt that the Sun Bear was presented to the Malacca Zoo in 2000 after it was caught in the wilds of Johor.
The owner of the stallion had kept the horse at the zoo and it was not one of the exhibits.
The Malacca Zoo and Night Safari, sited on a 21.22ha zoological park, is the second biggest zoo in the country after Zoo Negara.
It has over 1,200 species of animals made up of 215 different types of birds as well as mammals, reptiles and amphibians.
The major attractions at the zoo include the critically-endangered Sumatran Rhinoceros, Malayan Sun Bear, Malayan Gaur Oxen, Serow and the Malayan Tiger.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam has offered an RM10,000 reward to anyone providing information leading to the arrest of the culprits.
He also asked the zoo management to install CCTVs immediately.