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Animal Deaths Continue at Bonbin Surabaya, Indonesia's 'Zoo of Death'

Jan 08, 2014 12:35 PM EST

New tales of death and animal cruelty have emerged from Indonesia's Surabaya City Zoo, which frequently draws criticism for the poor conditions imposed on animals kept there.

Established in 1916, the Surabaya City Zoo, known locally as Bonbin Surabaya, is a top tourist destination in Indonesia's second-largest city. The zoo is one of the largest in Southeast Asia, spanning 37 acres and serving as home to more than 350 animal species. Despite the zoo's popularity, there are regular reports of unsanitary and inhumane conditions for the zoo's animals, leading local media to label the attraction as the "Zoo of Death."

Wednesday, the Jakarta Post reported that Michael, a lion at the zoo, was found strangled to death by a wire in his cage.

The lion's death adds to a growing list of animals dying at the zoo.

Tuesday, the Jakarta Globe reported that a wildebeest was found dead in its cage at the zoo over the weekend.

Zoo officials said the animal died from internal bloating that may have been exacerbated by the weather.

"The weather could have been one of the main factors that had caused the wildebeest's bloating and its subsequent death, because, as we all know, Surabaya has seen torrential downpours in the last few days," zoo spokesman Agus Supangkat told the Jakarta Globe.

The wildebeest has only been at the zoo since April, having been transferred there from a different zoo. Surabaya City Zoo now only has one wildebeest, a female, according to the Jakarta Globe.

Weather has been blamed for the deaths of other animals at the zoo as well. "In October, an orangutan named Betty was found dead after suffering from pneumonia, an illness zoo officials were quick to blame on the city's heat," the Jakarta Globe reported.

In the past the zoo has been condemned for the deaths of a Sumatran tiger, a giraffe and many other animals.

The Sumatran tiger died after reportedly being fed meat laced with formaldehyde, which rotted its digestive tract. The giraffe was found dead with 20 pounds of plastic in its stomach, according to the Jakarta Globe. Another report suggested that the zoo could not afford to feed the giraffe and that it had been living off of food thrown to it by visitors, much of which was still in plastic packaging.

Here is an album of photos allegedly taken at the zoo. (Warning, some of the images are disturbing.)

One chief criticism of the zoo is that its low entry fee (less than $2) does not generate enough revenue to pay for the proper care of the animals kept there.

There have been a number of movements from concerned citizens demanding the closure of Surabaya City Zoo, including this one on Rebuttals to the proposed zoo closure cite difficulties in finding new homes for the animals in the zoo.

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