IPB University Professor Gives Scientific Explanation of the Dangers of Keeping Wild Animals Individually or Institutionally
The widespread news of the death of the Bengal tiger kept by Indonesian celebrities has drawn polemic from various parties. Although not a protected species in Indonesia, the Bengal tiger is categorized as an endangered species based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Prof Ronny Rachman Noor, Expert in Ecological Genetics at IPB University, gave a scientific explanation regarding the maintenance of wild animals by individuals. According to him, in terms of psychology and physiology, in general wild animals that are captured and moved to a new environment that is not their natural habitat will certainly experience stress. Stress that occurs in animals can cause phenomena of extreme changes in metabolism and physiology in their bodies.
“For ordinary people, wild animals kept by individuals or by institutions such as zoos and safari parks are considered as a form of protection for wild animals. However, in reality, restriction of movement is a factor triggering stress and death,” said the Professor of IPB University from the Faculty of Animal Sciences.
For example, Sumatran tigers in nature have a wide range of range (tens and even hundreds of square kilometers for each tail). Thus, at least it requires a fairly large maintenance area in its new shelter.
“In principle, every animal, including endangered species, has a homeostasis zone (an ideal zone where animals can grow and reproduce) for each physiological condition of their body. If there is a drastic change in the environment, endangered species will try to return themselves from physiological conditions to conditions close to their homeostatic zone by allocating energy and various other resources in their bodies,” explained Prof Ronny.
As a result, he continued, the transfer of energy and resources to wild animals’ bodies has an effect on a deficit of energy and resources for other needs, such as for basic living needs (basal/fasting metabolic rate). Usually it will also sacrifice the growth and development of his body.
“If this stress continues, endangered species will sacrifice more energy and other resources to deal with stress. This condition will result in endangered species being unable to reproduce. In fact, at the stage where wild animals cannot cope with even greater stress, endangered species will die,” he explained.
Prof Ronny explained that the concept of conservation through the maintenance of endangered species in zoos, including maintenance carried out by individuals, has been largely abandoned in modern conservation science, especially those that apply cage systems, because restrictions on space for movement will trigger stress. According to him, the concept of in situ conservation, such as maintaining endangered species in wildlife reserves and conservation parks, is considered the most appropriate, even though it requires high costs. (SMH/Rz) (IAAS/Res)