Original posted at http://news.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne%2BNews/Malaysia/Story/A1Story20110927-301721.html
By T.N. Alagesh
New Straits Times
Tuesday, Sep 27, 2011
TEMERLOH – A private animal park in Lanchang here has been suffering losses because its main attraction — three Malayan sun-bears — were taken away by the state National Parks and Wildlife Department (Perhilitan) last week.
The animals, two males and one female, had been at the Deerland Park since it opened in 2004, luring hundreds of visitors every week.
Of the three bears, 13-year-old Muda had been drawing the largest crowd as it was very friendly and would allow visitors to rub his big belly while he enjoyed the milk and nuts offered to him.
However, the mini zoo was affected by the newly-implemented Wildlife Conservation Act 2010, which required private zoo owners who could not meet the specifications to surrender their endangered animals to the department.
Zoo owner Abdullah Ahmad Mahmood is upset with Perhilitan’s decision.
He told the New Straits Times yesterday that after the bears were taken away, the park had lost its appeal and suffered a drop in visitors as tour agents said the animals were the main attraction.
“Some tourists who visited the zoo claimed they had been cheated.
“Tourists claim that the brochures and the websites shown by the tour agents included feeding and taking pictures with Muda as part of the activities, but none of the bears are here.”
Abdullah said the mini zoo, which was just a stone’s throw from Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary near here, attracted some 70,000 visitors every year, including ministers and even members of the Pahang royal family.
The 4ha park at the edge of the Krau Forest Reserve was also home to several other animals, including a herd of deer — ranging from full-grown ones to fawns, an albino python and various birds, including peacocks and peahens.
State Perhilitan director Khairiah Mohd Shariff said only the Perhilitan Consultancy Division in the headquarters could comment on the matter.
However, when contacted, the Consultancy Division wanted a written list of questions.
Deerland Park: Traveller Reviews
“Cruel treatment to Sun Bear – do not support this Zoo”
Reviewed 26 January 2011
person found this review helpful
When our driver told us we’d be going to Deerland and that the main attraction was a ‘honey bear’ my partner and I had immediate doubts and pushed him to tell us more about how he is cared for and his living conditions. Our driver assured us it was fine and that we would not be seeing any mistreatment.
The second I saw the beer my heart broke. The owner was distracting him by feeding him sugar cookies and honey – even making him lie down and pouring honey on his belly to make him lick it. We were told to pat the bear and his coat was so sticky and the skin on his stomach, chest and underside of his legs was irritated and had clearly been untreated for a length of time.
We were then told that this bear needed a break. For the next half hour while we were at the zoo he was left in his pen in full sun with no water. He was pacing and clearly uncomfortable. He had no where to bathe and no ‘regular beer food’ to eat. The bear was so overweight I can’t help wondering if he has ever been fed food from his natural diet.
There was also female bear was in a tiny cage and also clearly distressed. According to the owner she is ‘aggressive’ so they don’t let her out.
What I saw is haunting me and will be reported to WSPA.
“Am i the only person who finds this cruel?”
Reviewed 17 September 2010
person found this review helpful
I went to deerland as part of a tour to the Elephant orphange and so therefore it was not a planned trip. It has to be said, given the choice I wouldn’t have gone, and really wish i hadn’t. i found it rather upsetting.
The deer at deerland were perfectly happy, as were some of the other animals, however I found the attraction of feeding a male sunbear with honey mixture, whilst the female was locked in a small cage, disturbing to say the least. These are wild animals, and certainly shouldn’t be kept in small enclosures and overfed to allow for tourist photographs “with the animals”. The monkeys were also quite obviously distressed and in cages far too small for them. Their pacing round in circles was distressing. As was the fact the bear cub had been separated from his parents and so was isolated and without stimulation. These are intelligent creatures and require stimuslus to stop them getting depressed. I’m sure the keepers did love the animals, but they don’t have the correct facilities to care for them.
I found this place really sad and refused to have my photo taken with a bear. it just felt too wrong.
“This place is appalling, cruel, and should have been shut down long ago”
Reviewed 13 September 2011
I find it difficult to imagine any ‘positive’ reviews on here are anything but propaganda by parties with a vested interested in this park.
The negative reviewers here are correct – I’ve written elsewhere regarding this park and can’t believe nothing has been done about it yet. The deer seemed to be okay as they’re relatively easy to care for, but the captive bears just bring tears to the eye. When I visited they also had lots of domestic-type house cats – though feral I think – living in cages! Also a couple of small monkeys (macaques) in miserable little aviary-structures with no stimulation whatsoever. It just broke my heart.
Who could ever think this is acceptable, let alone ‘fun’ to visit?!