A moon bear which suffers from a skin tumor sits inside a cage at the quarantine section of Surabaya Zoo in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia Saturday, March 10, 2012.
Set up nearly a century ago in one the most biologically diverse corners of the planet, Surabaya Zoo once boasted the most impressive collection in Southeast Asia. But today the zoo is a nightmare, plagued by uncontrolled breeding, a lack of funding for general animal welfare, and even persistent suspicions that members of its own staff are involved in illegal wildlife trafficking.
Kliwon, a 30-year-old male African giraffe, receives treatment from animal keepers at the Surabaya Zoo in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia, Thursday, March 1, 2012.
The only giraffe at Indonesia's largest zoological garden died late Thursday, and was found to have a 40-pound ball of plastic in its stomach, said a zoo spokesman.
A Bengal white tiger which is missing an ear and suffers from a spinal problem lays inside a cage at the quarantine section of Surabaya Zoo in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia, Saturday, March 10, 2012.
"There are too many tigers," zoo curator Sri Pentawati lamented. "We have a hard time rotating them out [of their cages] to get all the exercise they need."
A Surabaya Zoo health worker checks the pulse of a sick 35-year-old female elephant named Fitri - one of 10 elephants at the zoo - that was suffering swollen joints in her leg, in East Java on July 26, 2011.
The zoo came under heavy fire two years ago following reports that 25 of its 4,000 animals were dying every month, almost all of them prematurely. They included an African lion, a Sumatran tiger and several crocodiles. The government appointed an experienced zookeeper, Tony Sumampouw, to clean up the operation and he struggled, with some success, to bring the mortality rate down to about 15 per month.
But following last week's death of the giraffe Kliwon, Sumampouw said he's all but given up.
Deer, proboscis monkeys and a cassowary share a pen at Surabaya Zoo in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia, March 10, 2012.
A keeper sweeps garbage at Surabaya Zoo in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia, March 7, 2012.
Activists hold placards during a protest against the use of plastic bags (locally known as "kresek"), following the death of a giraffe who ingested pounds of plastic food wrappers at Surabaya Zoo, in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia, Sunday, March 11, 2012.
A visitor throws a piece of watermelon into the pen of the only chimpanzee at Surabaya Zoo in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia, March 7, 2012.
One of the biggest problems at Surabaya Zoo is overcrowding. Whereas most zoos limit the number of animals born in captivity - taking into consideration how many can reasonably be cared for or exchanged with other zoos - the notion of "family planning" has not yet taken off here. Contraceptives are expensive and there are not adequate facilities to separate males and females. As result, species are bred to excess.
At left: Some 180 pelicans sit inside a pen the size of a volleyball court at Surabaya Zoo in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia, March 7, 2012.
Visitors view at least three different species of birds - Australian pelicans, grey herons, and black cormorants - inside a 49 x 65 ft cage at Surabaya Zoo in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia, Wednesday, March 7, 2012. Indonesia's biggest zoo is struggling for its existence following reports of suspicious animal deaths, overcrowding and disappearances of endangered species.