Cheap Thrills, Poor Conditions Plague Indonesia's Zoos

A viral video of sun bears appearing to beg for food from zoo visitors has people calling for change at Indonesia’s zoos.

In the video, skinny sun bears stand on their back legs in a pit, arms outstretched as visitors toss in snacks. They gobble them up and wade into the murky water of the moat that rings their barren enclosure to get closer to the sources of the food.

Another video shows a sun bear defecating and eating his own feces, as much a sign of boredom as of hunger, according to Gabriella Fredriksson, a sun bear expert who runs the Sun Bear Center, in Borneo. “There seems to be a lot amiss when [with] the sun bears' behavior,” she said in an email.

The videos were filmed in mid-2016 at Bandung Zoo, in Indonesia, by the Indonesian zoo-monitoring group Scorpion.

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