Join our zoo community

Jongs Crocodile Farm and Zoo Jong's Crocodile Farm And Zoo

Discussion in 'Malaysia' started by Chlidonias, 5 Aug 2009.

  1. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member 15+ year member

    Joined:
    13 Jun 2007
    Posts:
    23,475
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Today is my birthday and for want of something more wildernessy to do I went to the local zoo, Jong’s Crocodile Farm And Zoo in Kuching (Sarawak, Borneo). It can’t quite be described as The Unhappiest Place On Earth (if I may be permitted to misquote Sir M. Mouse), but it is certainly pretty unlikeable. It was first established way back in 1963 and I wasn’t really expecting it to be a nice visit, crocodile farms usually aren’t, but I like to see the less salubrious facilities on my travels (by which I don’t actually mean I “like” to see them, more that it is instructive to see them, if you see what I mean). Their promotional pamphlet says it is “one of the largest and the only crocodile breeding farm in the country”, which is somewhat self-fulfilling. It also states that “the farm provides a perfect sanctuary for the reptiles, saving the species from extinction,” which is the sort of preservationist clap-trap that exploitative zoos spew out when they want to justify the existence of something that shouldn’t exist. Their website is at www.jongscrocodile.com - Home

    This is one tourist attraction in Kuching that still has a bus route servicing it, although the bus stops out on the main road and you have to walk a kilometer to the entrance. There are aquariums at the entry counter with snakeheads and catfish and other big fish but like many of the inmates of the zoo, they are without identification labels which sort of goes against any sort of educational value the place may claim to have. Where cages are labelled they are simply “eagle”, “otter”, only very rarely with anything further. Before entering the zoo itself there is a “Crocodile Museum” in which pride of place goes to the skull of Bujang Senang, a 19ft 3 inch man-eating saltwater crocodile shot in May 1992, the exhibit complete with the gun that killed him and a whole series of lurid photos of dismembered corpses (of both people and crocodiles). Other displays in here, apart for baby crocodiles etc, are stuffed monitors, a baby sun bear, and various other animals that, once having seen the zoo, you can’t help but think must be former inhabitants.

    The first section of the zoo is more aquariums, again all unlabelled, but including various turtles and large fish, amongst which is a ridiculously overcrowded pacu tank. Next to these are rows of shallow rectangular pools packed with the crocodiles they have bred, apparently from one to eight years old, and I imagine awaiting slaughter for their hides and meat. There are two separate pens for a “white” crocodile and a tailless crocodile, apparently worthy of even a special sign saying “Tailless crocodile”!! From there you progress onwards to small dirty cages for various local and not-so-local animals, including small-clawed otters, binturong, crab-eating macaque, silver pheasants, blue peafowl and domestic rabbits. The sun bear enclosure (or pit, if you like) was truly nasty. It was sad to see a magnificent single-wattled cassowary pacing around in a too-small pen, being aggravated by the few other visitors that were there as they banged on the wire to make him boom at them (although ironically the cassowary pen was in fact larger than those given to the same species at the Bali Bird Park which I was at about a month ago). That was not however quite as sad as the porcupines in a horrendous (although surprisingly large) concrete pit, trying to take shelter from the heat under a small overhang of concrete (in the wild they would of course be in burrows where it is cooler); and also not as sad as the pig-tailed macaque all alone in his (also surprisingly large) cage, pacing along the front wire, calling hauntingly for company – anthropomorphic I know, but true.

    The greater part of the zoo is taken up naturally with crocodile pools which are very large (as they need to be for breeding) and a lake for arapaima and several other giant freshwater fish. The jungle trail they have advertised in which you can wander and observe wild birds, turned out to be a 400 metre loop around the false gharial pens, although I did see a black and red broadbill and a banded woodpecker there. Some of the false gharials here are absolutely massive! I never knew they got that big.

    Jong’s Crocodile Farm really is a very poor excuse for a zoo, which is a shame as the place could be very good if they put some effort in. While I was there they were either redoing or constructing a-new some enclosures at the start, but they were exactly the same in style as all the other awful ones around them, so they haven’t learned anything. As I was wandering around it actually put me in mind of Brisbane’s Alma Park Zoo – nice setting (or could be made into a nice setting) and definitely there could be some great potential but it is being completely squandered. Malaysia’s not a poor country so there’s no excuse there, and presumably crocodile breeding is pretty profitable. Also they have access to some fantastic native wildlife for which they could be a showcase for educational or even conservation purposes (I’m hoping I don’t sound like I’m condoning raping the wild for purely display purposes but I think you’ll all probably know what I mean). At the moment Jong’s is simply a collection of animals waiting for death. There are empty cages where presumably the inhabitants have died and not yet been replaced. Several species advertised on their pamphlets and website are no longer there, such as gibbon, argus pheasant and hornbill, for which those species should be grateful. I would rate this place as about a two out of ten. Not recommended.


    I’ll post photos when I return to NZ (so you’ll have to wait till November)
     
    Last edited: 5 Aug 2009
  2. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member 15+ year member

    Joined:
    13 Jun 2007
    Posts:
    23,475
    Location:
    New Zealand
  3. dragon(ele)nerd

    dragon(ele)nerd Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    2 Apr 2008
    Posts:
    2,496
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    Both my parents were born in Kuching, I've gone to the crocodile farm twice or perhaps three times, it used to be located in another area actually and I remember visiting the farm at it's current area in its early days, memory serves me that a decent amount of people were there on that day, due to the humid conditions the facilities are prone to wear and tear. There was this boardwalk with only chicken wire on either side, this was used to view one of the breeding ponds. I found a pic of it on the website http://www.jongscrocodile.com/images/stories/images/001.jpg
    Really dangerous as I was walking I got bumped from underneath by an angry female croc and the wood plank splintered.


    The last time I went, I remember it like you describe, it is unfortunate that it could be upscaled greatly, sad thing is about sarawak is that it produces over half of the country's revenue however gets little in return.
     
  4. Kifaru Bwana

    Kifaru Bwana Well-Known Member 15+ year member

    Joined:
    25 Jan 2006
    Posts:
    12,492
    Location:
    Amsterdam, Holland
    What do you mean by little in return? :confused:

    Kalimantan + Malaysian Sarawak / Sabah have 2 endangered crocodilians, namely Tomistoma and C. siamensis. How are they benefiting from the farm's operations?

    Any data or statistics on the farm's production of salties - I guess ...???
     
  5. dragon(ele)nerd

    dragon(ele)nerd Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    2 Apr 2008
    Posts:
    2,496
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    well, my relatives in sarawak have constantly complained that the state of selangor is where all the nation's money is being flushed into, compared to Sarawak (probably because it is a tourist attraction in terms of wildlife)
    that I all I know from heresay.