Police have arrested a zookeeper in Yogyakarta for
allegedly embezzling money that was supposed to be used to feed five tigers at
the zoo, causing the endangered animals to become severely malnourished, local
News portal Detik.com wrote that the 40-year-old zookeeper, identified only by the initials S.G., siphoned of as much as Rp 3 million ($230) per week between June 2015 and February 2016, causing the Gembira Loka Zoo a total of Rp 90 million in losses.
Police said the zookeeper used the money to buy two motorcycles and pay the monthly installments on a car.
The tigers are supposed to be fed 17 kilograms of meat twice a week, but the suspect only bought 5 kilograms each time, while pocketing the rest of the money.
The zoo became suspicious when the five tigers began to show signs of malnutrition, which include weight and hair loss.
Police arrested the suspect on Wednesday (27/04) and charged him with embezzlement. S.G., who had been working at the zoo since 2012, could face four years in prison if convicted.
Zoo spokesman Khrisyanto Agung told the news portal on Thursday that they are trying to get the tigers back into shape by restoring their food supply and provide them with added vitamins.
The case once again shed light on the appalling state of Indonesia zoos.
In 2013, pictures of an emaciated Sumatran tiger held captive at a zoo in Surabaya, East Java, caused shock and outrage internationally. It also revealed the horrific condition at what was later dubbed "the zoo of death," for its high rate of animal fatalities.
Indonesia currently has 58 registered zoos, but 54 of them are either deemed improper by the government or are not yet officially accredited. (Jakarta Globe)