With a little help from the outside

Binsar Bakkara

MEDAN (AP) – The sound of the sea eagle breaks the silence between the iron cages at Medan Zoo in Indonesia’s North Sumatra province. It has been more than a month since the zoo closed and restricted visitors as part of efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The number of people visiting the 260 animals has dropped from 3,000 a day since the outbreak started in January to 300 until it finally closed. With no income to buy food for the animals, the management appealed for outside help.

The response came through the delivery of fruits, vegetables and meat. Papayas, bananas, water spinach, cucumbers and other vegetables are unloaded every day from donation trucks.

Children drop coins in a donation box. Within two weeks, assistance came not only from Medan but other cities and as far as Singapore.

Other Indonesian zoos offered food, and money was being transferred into the Medan Zoo account.

Meanwhile, the zoo has become home to stray cats.

Only employees taking care of the animals report to work every day, their number cut in half.

Veterinarians have taken up cleaning the cages. They make sure the sun bears and orangutans get their supply of fruits and tigers meat, and that no animal goes hungry.

ABOVE & BELOW: A female orangutan named Amidah eats donated fruit, inside her enclosure at Medan Zoo; and zookeeper Ahmad Zuliansyah feeds a tiger with a piece of donated chicken during a feeding time. PHOTOS: AP

Workers unload fruits and vegetables from the back of a donation truck at Medan
A bear eats a papaya in his cage
ABOVE & BELOW: Veterinarian Yona Dumaica prepares fruits and vegetables for Siti, the one and only elephant at Medan Zoo; and a young girl puts small change on a donation box for animals at Medan Zoo which is affected by the new coronavirus outbreak

The zoo management is scrambling to find donations of money and food to keep hundreds of animals fed at the zoo that normally relied on ticket sales to run, after it was closed last month amid the new coronavirus outbreak
ABOVE & BELOW: People carry boxes of fruits as they donate food for animals at Medan Zoo; and a black bear looks at a donated papaya from inside of his cage during a feeding time

Veterinarians have taken up cleaning the cages and make sure no animal goes hungry