People domesticated them, people should take responsibility
Balikpapan, the 2nd largest city in East Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo, has thousands of stray animals, especially cats, roaming the streets. Not only do the animals usually live in deplorable conditions but this also presents a threat to the sensitive tropical ecosystem. In addition to stray problems, the general concepts of animal welfare are low. Many people don’t recognize an animals capacity to feel pain. Frequently, pet owners understand little about their animals and their basic needs. Few pets receive appropriate food let alone medical care or sterilization.
At present there are no shelters or other organizations in Kalimantan working to resolve the stray population problem or increase (domestic) animal welfare. In 2005 when we started work on site focusing on our sun bears, we discovered that members of the public frequently dumped stray cats and dogs at the facility.
We started taking care of a number of cats and dogs though this quickly developed into a substantial number of animals. When the cat population reached some 50 animals we decided to build a small cat enclosure where we could contain the cats during weekends when visitor numbers are highest. It became clear that many visitors were highly interested in our cat programme and were keen on more information regarding proper care for domestic animals.
For this end we have developed our Domestic versus Wildlife Education Exhibit