Manner in which Chickaboo was ferried not right: Aussie-based ostrich owner

KUALA LUMPUR: The manner in which the internet sensation ostrich, 'Chickaboo', was ferried is highly improper, says a Malaysian ostrich farm owner based in Australia.

Philip Raja said an ostrich should not be transported at the back seat of a four-wheel drive vehicle as was the case with the six-month-old bird which caused a sensation when it leapt off a Toyota Hilux belonging to the bird's owner before running along the Federal Highway last month.

"That was not the right way to transport an ostrich. You need a proper method of transportation, such as how horses are transported via a cart-like lorry.

"The owner was (in reality) putting the life of the ostrich at stake by transporting the bird at the back seat of his Hilux," he told Bernama in a recent interview.

Raja, 55, who has been in the ostrich farm business for more than 17 years, said timing was of essence and as such, it was best to transport an ostrich at night when traffic was minimal.

"This is because, an ostrich can become easily agitated and aggressive in the presence of a crowd, and transporting it back to the farm during day time is not advisable due to heavy traffic."

Meanwhile, Raja also queried if the (ostrich) owner had a permit issued by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) to transport the bird from the city to Semenyih in Selangor, as such a permit was required when moving the bird from city to state.

Last week, the social media was abuzz when Chickaboo escaped from its owner, animal trainer Darren Chow's Hilux window and sprinted off the federal highway, all the way to the Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) building when it was stopped by passers-by.

Raja said it was important to look into the animal's welfare based on Section 24 of the Animal Welfare Act 2015 which stated that owners must adhere to the act.

The act states that owners must ensure the needs of their animals are fulfilled and free from pain, disease, injury and placed in a safe environment.

Nevertheless, Raja noted the act was not fully enforced; thus, taking action against those flouting the act might not happen anytime soon.

The ostrich was reported to have been safely returned to the owner of Ostrich Wonderlands in Semenyih at 4.15pm on June 17.

Raja stressed that looking after an animal such as an ostrich required lots of hard work and dedication to meeting the animal's needs.

He said while an ostrich had the tendency to become aggresive, it was also adorable and affectionate and loved by many, especially children. — Bernama