From: Malaysian Friends of the Animals via email

Malaysian Friends of the Animals read recently on Sunway Lagoon’s website that it has acquired a couple of white lions to add to their zoo. White lions occur naturally in only one place on earth, the Timbavati region of Africa, according to the White Lion Protection Trust. In other places, they are bred solely for canned trophy hunting and for use and exploitation in zoos, often under the guise of conservation.

Did the Sunway Group acquire these white lions from Timbavati? If not, will they reveal to the Malaysian public where the lions are from?

Were they bred specifically for use at Sunway Lagoon zoo? If they were, it would be almost certain they were inbred. Inbreeding with close relatives is carried out in order to replicate the dormant gene necessary to result in a birth of a white lion. In the process large numbers of the lions develop inbreeding depression, causing them terrible health problems.

Either way, the Sunway Group may have acted unethically.

Either the animals were taken from their natural habitat, or they were “acquired” them from a place they were bred specifically for use in the zoo, to be exploited for profit. Most zoos will hide behind the guise of education and conservation. This does not help the conservation effort in any way, but gives validation for breeders to keep on inbreeding to produce them.

Sunway Group would do better for conservation by taking the money to be spent on these lions and giving it to the White Lion Protection Trust and its sanctuary, where the lions roam free from trophy hunters, free from acting as zoo entertainment, and free from spending their lives in tiny enclosures.

We are also disappointed that Perhilitan, the Malaysian Wildlife Department, allowed the import of the two white lions into Sunway zoo. This sends a message to all Malaysian zoo owners that they can import, abuse and exploit any animal from around the world as they wish. If Perhilitan and the environment minister care about animals, they wouldn’t have allowed the import.

We are also extremely concerned that musical concerts are being held at Sunway Lagoon, where the zoo is located. Concerts there should be banned as the loud, blaring music places immense stress on the animals. Failing to do so will only strengthen the impression that Sunway Group are in possession of wild animals merely to exploit them.

Submitted by Jennifer Yeap for the conservation group MFotA

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