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PETALING JAYA, June 15 — Zoo Negara has denied claims that its animals are being underfed after photographs of one of their Asiatic lions with its ribcage visible went viral on Twitter.
Bernama journalist Nadia Zaman tweeted a video of the zoo’s deputy president Rosly @ Rahmat Ahmat Lana explaining that the zookeepers had switched to feeding the lions chicken instead of meat due to food shortages during the movement control order (MCO).
The lion in the photo, who is a 15-year-old male called Manja Kani, was not a fan of the new menu and lost some weight as a result.
“(Manja Kani) was a bit fussy and it was difficult for us to get our meat supply during the MCO.
“It’s not that we cannot afford it but there just wasn’t any supply that could come in.
“We fed the animals whatever meat we had and focused on giving chicken instead,” said Rosly.
Just interview now with timbalan presiden zoo negara malaysia Rosly @ Rahmat Ahmat Lana kes singa kurus tu sbb tukar diet dari daging ke ayam di sebabkan PKP, bekalan daging kurang. Lion tu tak berminat pada ayam. Jd dia kurus sikit tapi dia sihat cc @zlkha_z @f4izalhassan pic.twitter.com/pwK4NU11VD— nadia (@nadiazaman__) June 13, 2020
Rosly emphasised that Manja Kani’s health has not been affected and that he and his mate Manja Ella are being taken care of properly.
However, this failed to placate sceptical Twitter users who did not buy Rosly’s explanation.
“This excuse is ridiculous. Zoo Negara gets millions of donations. Animals need to be fed, MCO or not.
“You don’t simply just change their diet then blame them for being picky,” said one user.
This excuse is ridiculous. Zoo Negara gets millions of donations. Animals need to be fed MCO or not. You don’t simply just change their diet then blame them for being picky. https://t.co/f2yiedmsZC— 𝗔𝘆𝘀𝗵𝗮 𝗥𝗶𝗱𝘇𝘂𝗮𝗻 (@ayshardzn) June 14, 2020
Malaysians began demanding an explanation from Zoo Negara last week after the photo of Manja Kani with his ribcage visible surfaced on Twitter.
Many brought up the fact that the zoo has received more than RM2.2 million in donations and sponsorships from the government, private corporations, and individuals in 2020 as stated on its website and questioned why the animals still looked poorly.
Others were also angry over the zoo’s lack of transparency as its annual reports and list of key personnel are nowhere to be found online.
this is what happened when i click to find zoo negara’s annual reports & key personnel.— freyr (@sunfloweraidil) June 12, 2020
there is no transparency. this is so wrong. pic.twitter.com/3rbIWzYEz5
Didn't Zoo Negara get the donations it needed? Something is not adding up here. https://t.co/Lq2tPnNmTc— Farhan (@lamkanahraf) June 11, 2020
More than 10,000 people have also signed a Change.org petition called “Save Zoo Negara!” that was launched last week to demand a proper investigation into the animals’ and workers’ welfare.