Lion Dies, Suspended From Steel Cables, at Surabaya 'Zoo of Death'

| by Allison Geller

The “world’s worst zoo” was the site of yet another tragedy when a lion died, grotesquely, after getting his head trapped between two steel cables.

The Daily Mail, which released an expose about the Surabaya “zoo of death” in Indonesia, reported that the rare African lion named Michael died at 18 months old. 

"The lion was found hanging from the roof of his cage," said zoo spokesman Agus Supangkat, quoted by the Jakarta Globe. "He was very young and got his head stuck in cables that keepers use to open and close the cage.”

“It could be that he was playing around and somehow his head got stuck,” he added.

Supangkat called the death an accident, maintaining that it was not the result of negligence.

Local police are investigating the death. When a Surabaya Police team went to gather evidence, the lion’s corpse had been removed, according to detective chief Farman.

Farman did not say whether this indicated the zoo was trying to scrub away evidence of mistreatment.

“We are going to wait for the autopsy results, then we can further examine the case,” he said.

A wildebeest also died on Saturday of intestinal complications, leaving the zoo’s wildebeest population at one, though Supangkat said the animal was not malnourished and had gotten sick after days of bad weather.

Pictures of emaciated animals in the underfunded zoo instantly puncture holes in these claims, however. A giraffe died with a ball of plastic in its stomach from eating wrappers that had been thrown into its cage, while another tiger died from eating formaldehyde-laced meat.

Despite pleas by animal activist around the world to close the zoo, no other zoo has agreed to adopt the 3,000 animals it currently houses, squalid as the conditions may be.  

Sources: Daily Mail, Jakarta Globe