Animals remaining in substandard circumstances at some community zoos

A lynx sits inside of its enclosure at the zoo at the Daejeon Aquarium in Daejeon. (Yoon Min-sik/The Korea Herald)

A jaguar paced back again and forth inside of its cage, measuring about 30 square meters in full space. Each time the terrific cat achieved the edge of its enclosure, it reared on its hind legs, as if to attempt a futile climb on to the wall.

Daejeon Aquarium’s “mini zoo,” positioned on the 3rd floor of the aquarium, a short while ago arrived below hearth on social media for placing its animals in substandard residing disorders.

In gentle of the revision to the Enforcement Diploma of the Act on the Administration of Zoos and Aquariums slated to get result on Dec. 14, which will implement a allow program to winnow out underqualified zoos, The Korea Herald visited the controversial zoo in Daejeon.


The predator section of the zoo at the Daejeon Aquarium in Daejeon. (Yoon Min-sik/The Korea Herald)

The predator area of the zoo at the Daejeon Aquarium in Daejeon. (Yoon Min-sik/The Korea Herald)

Animals in cramped areas

The center of the mini zoo is dedicated to a petting zoo of tiny animals. On the considerably facet of the facility is the predator area, with glass enclosures for bears, jaguars, lions and tigers, as well as a lynx within a scaled-down enclosure.

The sheer dimensions of the enclosures are eye-catching, in addition to the peculiar behaviors of the animals in captivity. Comparable to the jaguars, the Asian black bears paced back again and forth and frequently reared them selves up on their hind legs.

This sort of behavior is termed stereotypy, characterized by really repetitive and functionless actions thought to be brought about by synthetic environments that do not allow for animals to satisfy their normal behavioral desires. As black bears in common have a territory north of 40 square kilometers, their erratic behavior from becoming cooped up in the zoo hardly will come as a shock.

These types of living disorders for the animals, nevertheless, are not unlawful. The South Korean law only mandates an location of 14 sq. meters in size and 2.5 meters in peak for the major cats, such as lions, tigers and jaguars. It is beautifully wonderful to leave the relatively smaller sized lynx in a place that is as modest as eight sq. meters in sizing.

A puddle is suggested – but not necessary – to be installed inside of a bear enclosure, and no unique facilities are mandated for the aforementioned felines.

A Daejeon branch of the neighborhood environmental group Green Korea United not too long ago launched a report of its study on the animals’ living ailments at zoos throughout the metropolis — such as the Daejeon Aquarium — and claimed they are threatening to the animals there. A extensive range of stereotypy have been observed from the zoo’s animals, and the report pointed out that many of the enclosures were created of concrete and devoid of any substances that could be identified in the creatures’ pure habitat.

The team in May reported that the aquarium’s animal feeding action lacked adequate protection procedures for each the readers and the animals. When the Ministry of Environment’s guideline states that the whole feeding course of action need to be monitored, no this kind of safety measures had been in area.

The team also pointed out the absence of an in-dwelling veterinarian at the zoo.

“Animals’ erratic habits, which we call ‘accidents,’ may possibly be their have way of crying out for enable, given that they are deprived of their organic environments. Zoos at this time only serve the operate of entertainment, strictly from a human’s stage of look at. Local citizens should pay out additional awareness to how they are operated,” the team reported in a statement.


Asian black bears inside an enclosure at the zoo at the Daejeon Aquarium in Daejeon. (Yoon Min-sik/The Korea Herald)

Asian black bears within an enclosure at the zoo at the Daejeon Aquarium in Daejeon. (Yoon Min-sik/The Korea Herald)

Can regulations protect animals?

The revised zoo and aquarium administration regulation will kick off in on Dec. 14, which will mandate operators of the amenities to acquire a govt allow. The Setting Ministry will grant permits for zoos, and the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries will give permits for aquariums.

The goal of the revision is to assure that the facilities hold up standards to defend animals. In accordance to 2020 details by the Fisheries Ministry, 64.4 % of the dolphins that have been brought into or born at aquariums in South Korea died inside three several years, sparking worries about the properly-staying of animals in captivity.

The new legislation will mandate zoo operators to procure a acceptable setting for the animals, along with experienced staff such as veterinarians. People who do not meet up with the prerequisites can have their allow revoked.

It also specified the definition of animal cruelty to involve any actions invoking needless discomfort, terror or stress to animals for leisure, expanding from the previous definition of bodily abuse this sort of as beating, poisoning or killing. Exhibition of wild animals at amenities not registered as zoos are also banned.

Zoos and aquariums that are by now registered will need to renew their permits below the new pointers by December of 2028.

Animal rights teams and specialists welcomed the revision as a major stage forward toward animal properly-being.

“The revised regulation will present increased expectations for zoos. If there is a distinct normal for how the zoos ought to be, holding up with these kinds of benchmarks can lead to development,” reported Eo Kyung-yeon, professor of animal health and welfare at Semyung University. The Act on Administration of Zoos and Aquariums by itself was only enacted in 2017.

He suggested that the federal government really should build a public corporation for administration of animals, which would give lawful grounds for supplying guidance for the animals on a state stage.


Raw chicken and apples are on sale for feeding experiences at the Daejeon Aquarium’s zoo in Daejeon. (Yoon Min-sik/The Korea Herald)

Raw rooster and apples are on sale for feeding activities at the Daejeon Aquarium’s zoo in Daejeon. (Yoon Min-sik/The Korea Herald)

The revision did not handle all the problems similar to substandard functions of smaller zoos and aquariums. For example, the aforementioned legally mandated dimension for enclosures remains untouched — which usually means there are no regulations as of yet to reduce huge animals from remaining held in cramped enclosures.

Animal legal rights advocates are hoping that the revision will be the first action toward superior remedy of animals in the zoo and towards ending animal cruelty in the place.