Netizens criticize zoo after bear dies in fight

NEGLECT?:Allegations against the Shoushan Zoo range from not feeding the bears enough to not adequately maintaining the barriers that separate adult male bears

By Jason Pan  /  Staff writer, with CNA

Wed, Jan 22, 2014 - Page 3

Animal lovers have cast aspersions on the care provided to Formosan black bears at the Shoushan Zoo in Greater Kaohsiung, after it was reported yesterday that one bear was killed last month in a fight with another bear.

According to a zookeeper, a 10-year-old male Formosan black bear called “Pobi” knocked down a barrier gate on Dec. 20 last year and entered the area occupied by an older male bear named “Siaoshan.”

The zookeeper said that as he turned to hear the animals roaring, the two engaged in a ferocious fight, which included biting each other.

“We contacted the veterinarians and other staff for assistance. Tranquilizer darts were used to anesthetize both animals and emergency treatment was administered right away,” Shoushan Zoo director Chang Po-yu (張博宇) said.

“Unfortunately Siaoshan died of his injuries later that day,” Chang said.

Adult male bears cannot occupy the same area, Chang said, adding a barrier gate separated the two.

“We did not think Pobi was strong enough to knock the barrier down, and go over to attack Siaoshan,” Chang said.

“Pobi is a strong and powerful adult, weighing about 150 kg. As Siaoshan is nearly 30 years old, and has a smaller frame, he was no match in a confrontation with a younger and stronger adult bear,” Chang said.

A number of Greater Kaohsiung residents have since left messages on the zoo’s Web site, raising concerns about the adequacy of the facilities and alleging the separation barriers are poorly maintained.

Some netizens have accused the zoo of not feeding the bears enough food, leaving them hungry and likely to fight among themselves.

Chang responded that the zoo has properly fed the bears three meals a day, including fish, vegetables, fruits and dry animal feeds.

“The incident was not the result of any neglect or abuse,” he said.

Chang said Pobi has been suspended from making any public appearances, adding that a review is being conducted on security measures and structures for separating the adult bears.