Sunday, 2 September 2012

Jakarta Zoo

Finally after 5 years, I plucked up enough courage and went to the Zoo in Jakarta. Ragunan Zoo to be exact, is a sprawling park in the south of the city. Cheap to get in, easy to get to but hard to forget, sadly for all the wrong reasons.
Wikipedia has described the place as being in a 'lush tropical setting' perhaps that needs to be revised as I will explain shortly.

 The map at the entrance from the busway, up high and not easy to use


 This sign post more than helpful if you are planning to leave or visit the animals

I took the TransJakarta bus to the Zoo as there is a terminal right next to one of the 3 entrances to it and so access is very easy and simple. Paying the fee of 4000 rupiah to get in, you wonder what you will get for your money. I got exactly what I expected from an Asian zoo. Hot, sweaty, chased by mosquitoes and the chance to see the usual animals in open areas you would expect to see in any zoo anywhere. However, the one exception was the Komodo dragons which were good to see and also the Gorilla sanctuary was also nice.

This is in the zoo somewhere and so helpful


Komodos, worth going to the zoo, just to see these amazing animals

The problem I have with any zoo is the treatment of animals and the conditions in which they are living. So advertising showing bears performing tricks, monkeys on bikes, seeing fires in animal pens lit and burning away, more rubbish than in a land fill and the lack of information about the animals re-enforced my beliefs about zoo's and that Ragunan Zoo should be avoided at all costs. Taman Safari is better or perhaps just go to the rainforest, jungle or woodland north, west, east and south of Jakarta to experience animals in their real habitat.


Dancing bears, always a favourite 

There are a lot of animals in this zoo and there were many keepers trying, I guess, to make sure that the animals are well cared for and overall I would say that they are. The elephants looked relatively alert, the tigers were busy chasing each other, the monkeys were busy committing monkey business and the gorillas were in a great and well thought out part of the zoo.


Fires and more smoke in the zoo

The whole zoo is covered in random drink and food sellers, and due to this fact there is an uncontrollable amount of litter and rubbish created by this and therefore hence the need to burn the rubbish to get rid of it. I saw people jumping over walls to sell drinks and food, people were passing more food and drink over walls and despite a large police, fire and security presence, no one cares.


Setting up for the day


All the grass has gone just litter


Stalls and more stalls

The zoo is a place for people to come and sit about in and thats why it is so cheap and so popular. There are lots of quiet grassy areas for picnics and to lounge about all day and so people do take advantage of this, with hundreds of thousands of people coming over weekends and national holidays. It is a shame that they don't pay more attention to their litter and approach to seeing the animals.


Always nice to see

Inside the zoo is a primate centre, the Schmutzer Primate centre which is dedicated to the conservation and the protection of various types of monkeys and apes etc. The cost for this is 7000 per person, no bags or food, lots of rules and people stuck by them and the place is well thought out and planned and the gorillas clearly were having a great time. However, the place is a maze, and like the rest of the zoo badly laid out and signed and there were many empty cages through out. I saw one Orang utan and no chimpanzees while in there. The gorillas were hiding from the sun so they were barely visible.


Excellent idea and well funded at some point


Gorillas enjoying the day


The walkway over the Gorillas compound

Many of the attractions in the centre had been closed through neglect which was a pity as it could be really good. But then I say that a lot here in Indonesia, but that's the way it is.
I hope one day someone will update the zoo and make it world class but until then, don't go. Oh and if you do, bring your own food and drinks. Someone tried to sell me a bottle of water for 10,000 rupiah, about 4 times the asking price anywhere else. 
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