Remembering Sheena

Stop Animal Abuse in Malaysia.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Up-date on D-Paradise Resort, Alor Gajah

Dear Supporters,

Melaka New Straits Times journalist, Ms Tan Choe Choe, telephoned the CEO of D-Paradise to check on the complaints raised by RSC after a concerned member informed us of what was happening there. (Please read letter posted in blog dated March 4, 2006)

Mr Lee Wah Chong, the CEO of D-Paradise made the following response:

1. On poor monkey chained to a pole under the hot sun - Mr Lee said the monkey belonged to some of the native people the resort had brought in to showcase to visitors, and they wanted the monkey nearby when they performed.

2. On children abusing the rabbits at the resort - Mr Lee said notice boards at D-Paradise advised visitors to treat animals fairly. He said: "We can't fine the children if they mistreat the animals, sad to say. But we are trying our best to see that they don't have much opportunity to do so. Sometimes, when we are looking, they don't touch, when we aren't looking, they touch."

3. On the ostrich having gone nearly bald - Lee said this is quite normal as their feathers drop off when they fight or during the mating season, when the animals tend to get a little rough with one another.

Ms Tan said Mr Lee now seems to understand that people are not happy with the way D-Paradise is being managed. He told her he appreciated the comments and complaints forwarded to him, and that he would try to do his best for the animals in his resort's care.

RSC would like to comment that:

A marine biologist has informed the RSC that some of the animals at D-Paradise should not be there because they are protected under the international CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).

Her letter reads: “If it is true what they say on their website, that they have on display African dwarf crocodiles (Osteolaemus tetraspis) and African long-snouted crocodiles (Crocodilus cataphractus), both are listed as CITES Appendix 1 species (no commercial trade allowed).

“Under the IUCN – The World Conservation Union Red List, the African dwarf crocodile is listed as "vulnerable", while the long-snouted crocodile is listed as "data deficient".

RSC shall be writing to the relevant authorities to bring D-Paradise’s folly to their attention so that others will not follow in their footsteps.

We now address the comments made by D-Paradise’s CEO, Mr Lee:
1. In a place as large as D-Paradise it is only appropriate that the CEO ensures the staff and performers (like the native people) he has are trained in basic animal care.

Several people have complained they were upset that the monkey was kept under the hot sun, and if D-Paradise engages native people to work there, it should also advise them on the proper care and treatment of the monkey.

2. Animal welfare educators have strongly opposed the concept of a "petting centre", "petting zoo" and so on where people are allowed to touch and handle the animals.

There was a letter in The Star which complained of a baby bear being chained to a tree at a zoo, and all day long visitors would come by and touch it (Please read RSC blog dated Feb 4, 2006).

This is very stressful for the animal and these people who make money by claiming their businesses are parks, sanctuaries and so on are "animal and nature friendly", should at least learn about the basic care of animals and the environment and have staff who are trained to understand animals and are sensitive to them.

If they fail to do this, naturally visitors will be too distressed to ever return. Ultimately, it is these businesses that will lose out. Take the example of Vimala who complained that her D-Paradise experience was "more of a nightmare than a paradise experience".

3. Is it right to put ostriches that fight in the same pen? Mind you, Vimala's letter also said: "I questioned my guide as to why there isn't a caretaker to prevent abuse to the animals, and he just laughed and said there is a shortage of staff, and to my horror he said there has been worse cases, where children have pulled the ears off the rabbits."

We are very concerned that a D-Paradise employee actually laughed about the rabbits being abused, rather than take the matter seriously. So I'm wary about Mr Lee's comment that the abuse only takes place when his staff are not looking.

RSC has also sent the above comments from Mr Lee and our response to info@d-paradise.com.my. If any of you wish to add your voice to our complaints, kindly speak to Mr Robert Teasdale, the Resort Director cum Trainer.

Well done, New Straits Times! And thank you Ms Tan Choe Choe for being so efficient and responsible in acting on our complaints.

1 Comments:

  • At 6:28 AM, Blogger Whiskers said…

    I can't say I disagree. I'll check to see the consensus. Happy mother's day!

     

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