Hanhwa: Mentally Ill Jaguars
Story By: Cristy Youn and Lucienne Huh Editor: Alexandra Oh Web Designer: Li June Choi
Hanwha Group is a massive company that owns many other branches including Hanwha Hotel Resort in which Hanwha Aqua Planet is under. In 2014, Hanwha Group has bought two jaguars that were born just a year before they were moved to the aquarium. With the great amount of money and time they spent creating an incubator, many people were excited to meet the two jaguars. However, since the moment they have moved to the cage, there has been a lot of on-going controversy for the environment that the jaguars are living in. The cage is a 360 degrees area covered with glass, exposing the jaguars 24/7 without a choice. Having wild creatures exposed in this environment with no boulders to hide themselves from constant people looking at them, it is not healthy for the creatures.
Although jaguars are known to spend a great amount of time swimming in the water, only a shallow water source appears to be at their cage. With the weak, poor environment provided by the Hanwha Aqua Planet, the jaguars have shown odd behavior, signs of mental illness. One jaguar has continuously been going back and forth to the point where they are tired and breathless from running. The other one has continuously banged its head on the glass to the point where a small dent can be observed from the outside. These actions are called Stereotypy where they show pointless actions such as continuing on a specific action. These sort of symptoms are often shown between caged animals. During a short period of time, the two young jaguars have gone crazy, being mentally ill. People are protesting that Hanwha Group should take the responsibility of the wild creatures if they have decided to take care of them. The fact that they bought jaguars for an aquarium is ridiculous let alone in an exposed area with barely any items. As the interviewees stated, “Hanwha Aqua Planet should work for a solution to move them to a different zoo or place the jaguars in a sanctuary.”