An animal welfare awakening is changing Indonesia forever

09 November 2017

Campaigns, exposes and public outcry has led to a string of government moves against cruelty – but plight of dolphins and bears show more to be done.

For animal lovers in Indonesia there was reason for optimism last week after the governor of West Java province announced a ban on staged fights between dogs and wild boars.

It was the latest sign that perceptions about the right of animals to live dignified lives are slowly changing in the country.

The breakthrough in West Java came after footage of a dog-boar fight was taken and shared by Animals Asia’s Indonesian partner, Scorpion Foundation, exposing the savage nature of the event for all the world to see.

Thanks to investigations by Scorpion, Animals Asia and Change for Animals Foundation, which have kept the spotlight firmly fixed on abuses in abuses in zoos, circuses and tourists attractions, animal welfare is becoming a major issue in Indonesia and officials are responding positively – often tackling the issues head on.

Viral bear video highlights need for national laws on animal care

Indonesia’s Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar tells media there is need for standardised laws on animal care after a Scorpion expose showing bears begging for food at Bandung zoo went viral.

In response to the global outcry, the government minister said such legal protection was necessary to avoid future problems and specifically referred to Bandung Zoo.

Zoo ends cruel selfie duty for baby orangutan

Michael the orangutan is forced to work as photo props for visitors

Kandi Zoo in West Sumatra announced it would no longer permit selfies with baby orangutan Michael after a viral video left the facility at the heart of a social media storm. The zoo also promised to build Michael a new enclosure following a campaign to end his exploitation.

Campaign convinces zoo to stop animal performance cruelty

Lembah Hijau Zoo on Sumatra said it would no longer force sun bears and orangutans to perform for food after heartbreaking footage revealed a bear being forced to cycle around a stage in order to eat.

Tens of thousands of people signed a petition calling for the cruelty to stop and inundated the zoo with complaints via email and social media. The zoo made its announcement a little over a month later.

Government announces end to barbaric dog vs boar pit fights

Ahmad Heryawan, Governor of West Java, wrote to all the province’s regency heads and mayors asking them to issue directives banning fights involving dogs and wild boars, saying the torture of animals is a crime.

Scorpion’s footage of a vicious fight, known as “dugong” or “adu bagong”, drew overwhelming support from the Indonesian parliament, local religious groups, villagers and animal lovers around the world, horrified by the grisly spectacle that has been justified by organisers as a way of preserving a tradition of hunting.

An appetite for change

These successes – fuelled by animal lovers at home and abroad demanding action – have changed the country forever.

The people and government of Indonesia have shown by their actions that they have the appetite for change that will improve the lives of animals in the country.

Now we have to take that momentum and use it to affect even greater improvements to animal lives.

Dolphins continue to be loaded onto planes for use in travelling circuses

For an animal known to swim hundreds of kilometres in a single day in the wild, being strapped into a coffin-sized box and put on a plane causes extreme suffering.

In addition, the dolphins unfortunate enough to be part of Indonesia’s travelling dolphin circuses have been torn from their families and natural environment to be incarcerated in tiny pools, hungry and susceptible to illness and disease from their unsanitary surroundings.

overview of tiny performance pool

It is a tragedy that this extreme animal cruelty is allowed to continue, especially while sanctuaries for these dolphins remains available. But while the cruelty continues to be permitted, the performing dolphins die young requiring even more to be poached from the wild.

YOU can help – sign the petition to demand local airline Sriwijawa Air end their complicity in cruelty and stop their dolphin flights.

Help the sun bears suffering for selfies


A post shared by Animals Asia (@animalsasia) on Nov 7, 2017 at 3:50am PST


The use of sun bear Ajib and her cub Marsha as photo props to feed the international craze for selfies continues at a tourist facility in Bali.

Animals Asia is appealing to the True Bali Experience Elephant Camp to stop exploiting these bears who spend their days being manhandled by tourists and forced to behave in ways that are completely contrary to their natural instincts.

If we don’t act, young cub Marsha is doomed to inherit the psychological disorder seen in the behaviour of her mother. Sign the petition to break the cycle of exploitation.