Elephant cruelty & abuse exposed. But A’Famosa Resort let off the hook again

Friends of the Orangutans (FOTO) is appalled that despite our recent exposé of the horrific treatment of elephants at the A’Famosa Resort‘s Safari Wonderland zoo in Melaka, there is still no action to alleviate the suffering of these poor creatures.

Our investigation has revealed that the nine elephants in the zoo were being secretly kept behind the scenes, away from the public eye, and are chained in a cruel and illegal manner when not performing in shows.

At the area they are kept, they all appear to be shackled on atrociously short chains, we believe up to 15 hours a day, with excrement and urine around them almost all the time.

One of them, the sole male elephant, is in the most tragic and heartrending conditions. Not only does it look very thin, but it seems that it is always chained on both its front and back feet, rendering the poor creature immobile and is reported to never have been seen lying down.

Numerous photographs sent to us and our own investigation also indicate that readily available drinking water and food are apparently not provided.




If you’d like to view more photos, they are available here. We have all of them in high res.


A zoo staff was also caught on video hitting an elephant very hard with a stick, believed to be a bullhook, after performing in the elephant show. At one point the poor elephant is hit so hard one of the sadistic handler’s feet was lifted off the ground. We suspect that the horror we witnessed is not an isolated case. We wonder what has been done to the elephants away from the public eye all these years.

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All this was reported by at least one local media, TV station Astro Awani, last week. But now the story has gone missing. We strongly believe that this was due to pressure from certain groups. Who is powerful enough to silence the media in such a way?

In the Awani report, Robert Na from A’Famosa management had responded by claiming: “I would like to clarify that the elephants are kept and maintain(sic) at international accepted standards and conditions and beating of the elephants is strictly forbidden by the management. In addition, relevant authorities periodically visit to ensure the well being of our animals.”

We would like the the resort management explain to the public what “international accepted standards” they’re referring to which allows elephants to be chained for long period of hours on concrete floor without water and food for them to consume at their own will, and worse, hitting an elephant.

Perhilitan, the wildlife authority that is supposed to act on this, seems to dismiss this case. The statement from Melaka perhilitan director Mohammad Khairi Ahmad to Awani was:“We are of the view that there were no mistreatment and therefore deny any allegations to that effect. The conditions (of the elephants) are all okay, the place (where they are kept) is clean and there is no contravention of our Act.”

Such response from Perhilitan is shocking and unacceptable. Perhilitan, as always, is blind to cruelty and exploitation to animals in zoos here. They always have to be reminded then prodded to take action. And in this case, they are simply not doing anything. It is left to NGOs like ourselves to do work they are paid to do, is this how Perhilitan is spending tax payer’s money? And could they be defending A’Famosa Resort?

The plight of the A’Famosa elephants has attracted the attention of British group Born Free Foundation‘s consultant Dr. Ian Redmond, a respected biologist and conservationist with more than 30 years of experience in which he is renowned for his work with gorillas and elephants. Dr. Redmond said:”The reported abuse of elephants at A’Famosa is illegal and must be stopped.  Forcing wild animals to perform in shows is no way to treat intelligent social mammals that are also endangered species”, while adding “I applaud FOTO for their investigation and hope the authorities act swiftly to help these elephants.”

FOTO wants the zoo to be punished according to the law and must not be allowed to escape as it had in the past for the reported mistreatment of orangutans and other animals.

The cruel treatment of elephants by A’Famosa Resort contravenes section 86(1) of the much lauded Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 and the full force of the law needs to be brought to bear on A’Famosa’s management, both for keeping the elephants in such a despicable manner and also for the elephant beating. It will also set a moral example against other zoo and resorts – cruel inhumane acts towards animals will not be tolerated anymore by the Malaysian public.

We demand the resort immediately halt its elephant shows, rides and all elephants be placed in a spacious enclosures, unchained. The Malaysian public will also want to see the nine elephants given the respect and care they deserve.

The resort management must end all abuse and exploitation of its elephants and place them in an enclosure with adequate environmental enrichment. If they refuse to do so, all the elephants should be sent to the Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary.

We also demand all elephants be urgently assessed by a qualified, independant vet, especially the emaciated male, in the presence of Friends of the Orangutans and the local media.

We ask all Malaysians to stay away from A’Famosa Resort until the abuse and exploitation of elephants in possession of the Resort is stopped.

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