Close cramped, dated city zoo to protect well-being of animals

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 31 August, 2014, 5:23am
UPDATED : Sunday, 31 August, 2014, 5:23am

Hong Kong zoo is too crowded. As a densely populated metropolis, Hong Kong can barely house all the people here, let alone provide a comfortable home for animals.

Animals in the zoo are often packed into their enclosures tighter than rush-hour commuters on the MTR. The cages are far too small and crowded compared to the animals' natural habitats, and some of them are even kept in separate enclosures from their families.

Such a poor living environment is definitely not ideal. Instead, these animals should live in tranquil, spacious surroundings where they can move around freely.

Moreover, animals in captivity are stressed and unhealthy. It is common to find animals in zoos sleeping or looking bored. The major reason is that zoo animals lack mental stimulation.

Most of them are unable to get sufficient physical exercise due to the limited space in the enclosures. This frequently results in them becoming overweight, which can adversely affect their health.

What's more, they hardly have any privacy. Not being allowed to live their lives in a natural way leads to the deterioration of their physical and mental well-being.

The facilities in the zoological gardens are outdated and inadequate. Little seems to have changed since the gardens opened in 1871.

An added problem is that the water bowls for the animals are made of plastic, which can spread disease.

Significant renovation is needed and living conditions have to be vastly improved if the zoo is to continue to operate.

The problem boils down to money. It would not be economically viable to invest a large sum of money in renovating the zoo, which is free to enter.

The best solution would be to shut it down rather than trying to modernise it or relocate it.

Jenny Suen, Sha Tin