Farm in the City celebrates 10 years of honing in on animal conservation

Farm in the City celebrates 10 years of honing in on animal conservation

The farm, which holds over 100 species of animals and birds, also provides educational programmes

OVER the last decade, Farm in the City (FITC) has given Malaysians an avenue to gain knowledge about animals and the significance of preserving mother nature. The farm has become one of Selangor’s major tourist attractions, while contributing to the betterment of wildlife research and conservation.

Based in Seri Kembangan, the farm holds over 100 species of animals and birds. Patrons can even get to interact with many of them. They can get their hands on pallets and vegetables anywhere on the farm, and enjoy feeding the animals.

However, this raises the question of whether the farm’s inhabitants are being exploited for spectacle.

Schoolchildren feeding fish (above) and a visitor with an alpaca. The petting zoo practises proper care for the animals. – SYEDA IMRAN/The Vibes pic

There is widespread awareness today of inhumane raising and use of animals for entertainment. There have been protests against companies “imprisoning” animals that belong in the wild.

How is FITC any different in this regard?

“All our animals are handled with care. We give them the necessary medication for any of their ailments,” said Muhammad Khairull, one of the farm’s staff.

(Above and below) Farm in the City has passionate staff members that take good care of the animals. – SYEDA IMRAN/The Vibes pic

“We do not keep our animals in cages, they are allowed to roam free,” he added.

Farm in the City’s prioritisation of animal welfare is not limited to the staff there. The farm provides educational programmes for customers.

“In terms of public education, we often raise awareness and conduct tours. Understandably, it is not enough, but we are always searching for more concrete steps toward conservation,” said its assistant operations manager, Dr Eve Foong.

“Our more aggressive form of conservation is to breed endangered animals, like the elongated tortoise. We are planning to collaborate with wildlife departments and other NGOs for an MOU signing regarding the proper steps to conserve this species” she added.

Asked about other animal-based attractions that do not practise proper care for the animals and the possibility of releasing the animals, Foong responded that they hope to be the yardstick of ethical management of animals.

“There are good and bad zoos, like everything else in the world. But in Malaysia, at least the younger generation, we are trying to improve the [living] conditions in zoos,” she said.

“But these animals are bred in captivity. They have been into the wild, they have never seen a real forest. So by releasing them, it would be irresponsible as they don’t know how to survive,” she added.

Foong also reasoned that by releasing these animals, a new pathogen might be introduced into the wild. The animals may carry unfamiliar diseases as they have been interacting with other animals and humans for quite some time.

To manage a relatively small farm with a large number of animals is no easy feat. This is especially so as FITC also operates two other farms in Bentong and at the KL Tower Mini Zoo.

It has an ensemble of passionate staff members that take good care of the animals.

However, surviving the pandemic has proven to be a challenge for the farm.

“It has been tough as the MCO disrupted our operations. We closed our doors for two years, so there’s not an inflow of income,” said Foong.

“We need time and a very good team. Now, manpower is a problem but we have seniors who are able to train newcomers,” said chief executive officer Datuk Allan Phoon.

“Animals cannot tell people their emotions, so caretakers have to be intuitive,” he added.

For an attraction that is garnering favourable reviews, it is not surprising that the farm has intentions to expand. But talks about expansion are still in the planning phase, and more information will be disclosed in due time.

source – The Vibes

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