In response to the call to preserve the environment and protect wildlife, parks are springing up all over the country. They offer tourists and Malaysians alike, an opportunity to see the diversity of tropical vegetation and animals living in them. They offer rest and quiet for people who lead hectic lives in the cities. Some parks are set up to provide a home for endangered species. The idea for setting up of parks is noble. However, there appears to be blatant disregard for the natural habitat of the animals.
In parks, animals are usually caged for visitors to view. Caging animals is cruel. Animals roam freely in their natural home, the jungle. They usually run away from human beings. Contrary to what we think, animals do not attack human beings unless provoked. However, when these animals are kept in parks, they are forced to face human beings every day. Some visitors shout and throw stones at them to provoke reaction from them. Others try to feed them with food which may upset their stomachs. This is highly stressful for the animals.
Besides the stress of coming into close contact with human beings, the animals have to undergo the stress of living in a restricted space. The cages for birds are usually big enough but the cages for mammals like gibbons, orang utans, deer, honey bears and bear cats are sadly, too small for them. Park owners seem to forget that animals need a big space to move around, not just sufficient space for them to lie down. In some parks, fully grown bear cats are kept in iron cages of about six feet by eight feet with only a small basin of water. It is agonizing to watch a bear cat trying to cool itself on a hot afternoon. First it dips one foot in the basin, and then another, because the basin is not big enough to accommodate the whole body. It is very cruel to put animals through this kind of torture for the rest of their lives.
Some might argue that animals live fairly comfortable lives in the wildlife parks because they do not have to hunt for food, and get killed in the process.