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Zoo must improve safety measures

KUALA LUMPUR: Visitors to Zoo Negara had mixed reactions to the issue of safety in the zoo, after a leopard attacked a five-year old girl.

While most thought parents should be responsible for their children’s safety, some said the zoo should buck up in its safety measures.

The star: Manja is becoming centre of attraction Zoo Negara. The zoo been put spotlight Manja clawed young visitor Saturday. Safety measures be seen Manja’s enclosure yesterday.
Jham Shari Muda, 33, who came from Pahang with his wife and children, said parents should watch their kids.

“If all visitors followed the rules, such an incident would not have occurred,” he said.

Daryn Howell, a 43-year old engineer, however thought the current zoo safety measures were not adequate.

“Although parents play a role as well, it is the responsibility of the zoo to ensure the safety of visitors,” he said.

Haw Qian Tong was attacked by Manja, a leopard at the zoo, on Saturday.

She was clawed from the back and suffered injuries to her neck and mouth, and is currently recuperating in hospital.

Prabarkaran Somasundram, a civil servant from Kuantan, said parental negligence was a factor but the zoo management should improve on the existing safety precautions.

“I would still bring my family here, though, because this is our national zoo,” he said.

Zoo Negara director Dr Mohamad Ngah said the attack was a one-off incident, and was the first since he joined the zoo three years ago.

“There are ample safety measures and signs prohibiting the public from getting too close,” he said, adding that the zoo’s safety measures were certified by the South-East Asian Zoos Association.

Citing an example of the uncooperative public, Mohamad said there was a visitor who sat on the glass wall of the tiger enclave to snap pictures.

“When we advised him to stay behind the safety wall, he told us he had paid RM15 for the entrance fee and should be allowed to do what he wanted,” he said.

Mohamad also demonstrated the measures taken by the management to ensure public safety.

A red tape has been used to seal Manja’s cage after the incident, warning visitors to keep a safe distance.

When asked if the management would impose stricter safety measures, he said the zoo would instead educate the public on safety regulations.

“I think this incident will not have a negative impact on the crowd visiting the zoo. In fact, I expect to see more people come out of curiosity,” he said.

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