GIANYAR, Bali (BPN) – The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a quite severe impact on Bali’s tourism which also affected the condition of zoos that threaten the animal’s life.
“Zoos in Bali currently are in worrying condition. We expect active participation from the government in the current conditions, both the central and local governments,” said Rahmat Shah, Head of the Indonesia Zoo Association (PKBSI), at a press conference in Bali Bird Park, Gianyar, on Friday.
He revealed that there had been no attention and help from the government for zoos in Bali since the pandemic occurred.
According to Rahmat, daily visits are no longer able to meet operational costs, to pay for animal food and medicines, employee’s salary, and other operational costs.
Various efforts have been made by Zoo managers to overcome this difficult condition, including food substitution (adjustment/saving), reduction of employees, adjusting employee’s working hours, provision of independent feed supply, and fundraising.
“If the situation remains as it is today, we are afraid the impact will get worse. If for the next three months it remains the same, then we will be forced to execute Plan B,” he explained.
Rahmat explained the Plan B is slaughtering herbivorous animals to feed carnivores. “We still prioritize endangered animals. So the herbivores we are going to sacrifice are animals that are old and easy to breed. Of course, we hope that we don’t run this Plan B,” he explained.
For this reason, he hopes that the local government will provide assistance to zoos in Bali, whether it is in the form of stimulus, tax dispensation, solutions for the availability of animal food, and promotional assistance, especially since zoos are one of the most reliable tourist destinations in Bali.
This pandemic caused zoos to experience a financial crisis. Rahmat also said that he heard many parties questioned the profit that has been obtained before the pandemic occurred.
“Zoos have used their profits to build new facilities and to cover needs during the closing period of approximately 5 months. The operational costs spent by all zoos are approximately IDR 35 billion per month,” he explained.
While Ketut Suardana, a representative from Bali Safari, stated that several zoo managers had submitted a letter to the local government for tax dispensation, but until now there has been no answer.
“We hope for assistance in the form of tax exemption or dispensation. Local governments in other provinces such as Yogyakarta have implemented this policy,” he said.
Rahmat Shah invited the community to support zoos in the country through the Food for Animal program organized by PKBSI.
According to Rahmat, PKBSI has raised donations to be distributed to its members ranging from Aceh to Papua based on a priority scale. All fundraising is carried out transparently and accountable and announced to the community through social media.
PKBSI is a non-profit organization, with 57 members, founded by figures and animal lovers on November 5, 1969. PKBSI is a cooperation forum for its members at the national and international levels, and functions to foster, develop, and enhance the zoological garden profession.
The total collection of animals in all zoos of PKBSI members as many as 68,933 from 4,912 species, such as endemic protected animals and animals from around the world consisting of mammals, carnivores, herbivores, reptiles, poultry, fish, and various other types. All of these animals are the country’s assets that must be protected and preserved.
Zoos in Indonesia is able to absorb more than 22,000 workers with a number of visitors of more than 50 million per year. Helping to increase regional economic growth through the multiplier effect of the benefits of various activities involved (hotels, restaurants, traders, souvenirs, local culinary, etc.), as well as contributing to the local revenue.