Sunday, June 12, 2016

Miri Crocodile Farm attracts visitors to the city

MIRI:  The Miri Crocodile Farm (MCF) at Kuala Baram has in the last 25 years (since its official opening on August 16, 1998), attracted over one  million visitors and tourists to Miri City, which achieved its city status in 2005.

Attracting visitors to the farm, which is only 24km away from the city is easy as it is the only wildlife farm and mini zoo in northern Sarawak and the second such farm after Jong Crocodile Farm and Zoo in Kuching.

However, for sustainability of the farm and in keeping with the standard operating procedures (SOP) of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES, Registration No. A-MY-509), is no easy task especially with no funding from the government or other relevant agencies unlike zoos operated by the government.

Thus, it is not surprising that the farm gets critical comments or complaints from the public including the recent one by the Friends of the Orangutans. Among the complaints are appalling conditions where the wildlife including sunbear, pythons as well as horses are kept and also the safety of both the visitors and animals.

“The sun bears are visibly stressed and are suffering from zoochosis as a result of living in a concrete tomb without enrichment. No readily available clean drinking water is seen.

Skinny horses are not fed enough and/or are sick.

They need to be urgently attended to by a vet. A palm civet lives in a tiny cage. Many animals live in cages which are too small, no enrichment is provided, putting all animals under great stress,” commented Friends of the Orangutans.

thesundaypost had the opportunity to interview the managing director of the farm Kapitan Chai Kuen Ming recently to hear his views on the complaints and also various aspects of the crocodile farm management.

Chai believed the complaints were due to misunderstanding adding that the Sarawak Forest Department had suggested the upgrading of the cage for the sun bear even before the complaint was lodged last week.

“We have started upgrading the sun bear cage before Gawai celebration (June 1) and it will be ready soon. Now we have four sun bears, one pair was given by the Forest Department 15 years ago and the one born at the farm is very friendly to human.

“Rest assured that whatever animals that the public can handle are those friendly ones, we don’t compromise on public safety as well as the animals themselves,” assured Chai.

So far he said the farm has clean record with no incident of wild animals or other animals in the farm attacking humans.

“Safety is our top priority. We take every precaution and follow the SOP of CITES and the relevant laws in the state.

“Precautions taken included keeping public at a safe distance from the wild animals like crocodiles and also putting signage to warn public of the danger, while at the same time providing information for educational purposes,” stressed Chai.

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