Several animal rights groups are calling on the government to improve its regulation of aquariums and other similar venues to ensure animal welfare.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, they said on-site inspections over the past six months found that the conditions at Xpark, an aquarium in the northern city of Taoyuan are far from satisfactory.
The aquarium called Xpark opened in Taoyuan last August. There are stingray, sharks, Magellanic penguins and seals, making it a popular tourist attraction. But animal rights activists found that the man-made living environment is not a healthy one for its inhabitants.
A stingray injured his tail. Sharks also get hurt easily because of their tiny living quarters. Also, there is no grassland for the Magellanic penguins, a temperate climate animal. Seals that are kept in a round tank are subject to close-up snaps, not to mention the noise caused by children who pound the tank glass.
Sera of the Taiwan Animal Equality Association said the standards for aquariums and similar places vary. Some counties are strict, while others are fairly lax. At an animal display venue in southern Taiwan, she said animals are kept in a tiny iron cage. She said Xpark’s small venue has also led to problems such as animals developing abnormal behavior.