Shirley the orangutan allowed to become a chain-smoker by heartless attendants.
|Shirley the chain-smoking orangutan is typical of the horrors to be found in Malaysian zoos|
A trip to the zoo should fill any animal fan with a sense of joy wonder, but in Malaysia the experience inspires revulsion.
Crocodiles struggle in waterless enclosures while lions and tigers are trapped in boxes barely big enough to house them, leaving no room to roam around.
But worst of all is the plight of Shirley, a 25-year-old orangutan, who competes with cage-mate Abu for cigarette butts thrown by tourists to satisfy her smoking habit.
|Shirley spends her days tearing apart drinks cans and food wrappers thrown by tourists as she searches for more food and drink.|
The government-run zoo in in Johor Baru has erected a ‘no smoking’ sign but that will do precious little to stop the sad practice while attendants turn their backs on it.
Shirley spends much of her sad existence tearing apart drinks cans and chewing on food wrappers thrown at her by visitors.
She regularly reaches through the bars of her cage to beg for cigarettes.
Last October a new law was passed that gave the zoos six moths to clean up their act but when the June deadline passes there will have been shamefully little progress made.
Ten zoos in the country were investigated last week and animals were still found living in tiny, dirty enclosures, sometimes without water for drinking or swimming.
|This tiger is kept in an enclosure that affords barely any room for exercise|
|The entrance to Johor Baru zoo in Malaysia where Shirley has been allowed to cultivate a smoking habit and animals are kept in appalling conditions|