Animal protection groups seek to stop Tainan Zoo from importing giraffes

  • By Sherry Hsiao / Journalist

Representatives of a coalition of animal welfare groups yesterday urged the government to reject plans for a Tainan zoo to import giraffes and other wildlife from Eswatini.

Since opening in 1994, Wanpi World Safari Zoo in Syuejia District (學 甲) has sparked much controversy, said Taiwan Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), executive director Connie Chiang. (姜 怡如), during an online press conference on World Giraffe. Day.

Since last year, the zoo has asked the Forestry Bureau to import 18 giraffes, rhinos, zebras and antelopes from Eswatini, and has already obtained an import permit, the coalition said.

Photo: Yang Chin-cheng, Taipei Times

The government should take into account international trends in conservation, animal welfare and the risk of disease transmission, and reject the zoo’s request to bring the animals, they added.

Chiang said the zoo treats wild animals like “dolls” that can be replaced, adding that instead of importing more animals it should focus on improving the animal welfare it has. already.

Giraffes have always been a mainstay of the Wanpi World Safari Zoo, said Sera Lim (林婷 憶), a researcher at the Taiwan Association for Animal Equality (TAEA).

While an average giraffe can live up to 20 or 30 years in the wild and in captivity, most giraffes in the zoo have shorter lifespans, she said.

In the past 10 years, four of the five giraffes raised by the zoo have died of illness or accidents, Taiwan’s SPCA, TAEA, AnimalSkies and Environment and Animal Society said in a joint statement on behalf of the coalition. of 13 members.

Transporting giraffes causes them tremendous physiological and psychological stress, the groups added.

International conservation advocates say giraffes should not be held in captivity unless necessary, they said.

The coalition said the zoo failed to provide proper medical care for its animals, while placing them in harsh exhibition environments, providing visitors with paid feeding experiences that put animals at risk and in not imposing any restriction on the behavior of its visitors.

New Power Party lawmaker Chen Jiau-hua (陳 椒 華) also attended the virtual press conference, saying the office should revoke the permit and wait for improvements to be made to the conditions of the zoo before proceeding. ‘examine his request.

The coalition also urged the public to join their protest by talking about it on social media.

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