TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The prolonged conflict in the management of the Surabaya Zoo that has lasted for more than 10 years must come to an end. The conflict among interested parties has put the lives of animals in peril. Those parties include two former managements of the zoo that are still entangled in dispute—Stany Soebakir group and Basuki Rekso Wibowo group—and the other two which are Surabaya city administrations and the Ministry of Forestry.
Due to the prolonged conflict, the current management cannot do much to improve the zoo. In addition to the limited budget, flows of external aids are also hindered because of the conflict, again putting the poor animals the victims. Media have unveiled several cases involving animals losing their lives in this 97 year-old zoo, with the latest one being Melani, an undernourished Sumatran tiger with no one to take care of her.
The current management and stakeholders of the zoo should have closed ranks to improve one of Indonesia's largest zoos. They should have sit together, coming up with solutions and not prolonging the conflict instead. Besides, don't they have the same good will to save the animals and improve the management? If they DO have the same intention, they should be able to put aside their own interests.
The momentum has finally arrived to resolve the conflict. Surabaya Vice Mayor Tri Rismaharini has stated that the administration would take over the management of the zoo. Indeed, this problem cannot stay like this forever. The current management of the zoo will only make the zoo in an even more deplorable condition, not only for the animals themselves, but also for their fellow humans, the zoo workers. Visitors will also certainly be disappointed to see the pathetic display of the zoo.
The good will of Surabaya Vice Major to take over the management of the troubled zoo, which is located in the heart of the city, should be a turning point to resolve the conflict. The move is also believed the end the long-drawn-out conflict. Vice Major Risma has even stated that the city government would pay the compensation money of the zoo’s assets previously bought by the former managements, including the animals they donated to the zoo.
In terms of rights of the zoo's asset, Surabaya city government is indeed most entitled to manage them. Risma said that the government had earmarked Rp4 billion to improve the zoo's management. She also acknowledged that the city government now only needs a license from the conservation agency to become a legal party to manage the zoo. To that end, Surabaya administration has established a Taman Satwa Regional Company exclusively to manage the zoo.
Unfortunately, the Ministry of Forestry has yet to give its permission to the Surabaya administration. The reason behind the ministry's refusal is that they wanted all of the zoo's conflicted parties to resolve their conflict first. However, the Ministry should have had sit together with the Surabaya administration to reach an agreement before proceeding to talk to the other parties. Without those who are courageous enough break the chain of conflicts, Surabaya Zoo will continue to be a troubled zoo.