Home Global Village Animals are dying in Pakistan’s zoos & no one cares

Animals are dying in Pakistan’s zoos & no one cares

Animals

 News Analysis |

Pakistan had become an unsafe place for humans after the launch of Global War on Terrorism; however, it is also becoming dangerous place for animals due to carelessness and sheer negligence.

A report unveiled on Thursday has exposed the mismanagement of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government as it claims that over 30 animals died in the Peshawar Zoo after inauguration by Chief Minister Pervez Khattak in February 2018.

The report is not compiled by outsiders as Kabir Afridi, Additional Secretary Higher Education was heading the investigative committee probing recent deaths. The report says that more than 30 species of bird and a Nilgai have died in the zoo because of respiratory illnesses and the Zoo lacks any laboratory for inspecting the routine illnesses of animals.

Cher had established ‘Free The Wild’ organization for which she wanted to secure custody of elephant, however, despite repeated requests, Kavaan was believed to be languishing in the country, though Aziz contends that the situation in zoo has improved a lot.

Besides the poor health facilities available for animals, the infrastructure was also exposed as the committee found that a deer lost his life after suffering a severe head injury due to its cage. Moreover, a monkey succumbed to injuries as a wolf had entered into its cage while a snow leopard breathed his last due to heart attack.

Admitting that animal’s die in zoos across the world, Mohammad Mumtaz Malik, Investigation committee member, recommended key steps to avoid deaths in future, including the training of medical staff and grass growth inside the cages. The situation in Lahore’s zoo is also alarming as multiple animals have died in recent past.

In March, three Bengal tigers died due to blood parasitic disease. Although the facilities in Lahore are much better and advanced than in Peshawar, even then numerous animals could not be saved. In November, a male cheetah, imported from South-Africa, passed away after spending just 30 days at the zoo, due to diarrhea.

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Just a month earlier, Fairy-the lioness died at the age of 18 – she was born in Lahore Zoo. Earlier in August, an African lioness cub passed away after a brief illness – raising the death toll of cubs to three for the Lahore zoo.

In May, Lahore Zoo’s only elephant and visitors’ most sought-after animal, Suzi, died after an acute pain in her legs- she was 35. Moreover, two tigresses at the Zoo died due to a blood parasite attack – which targeted the animals after 11 years – in March.

Besides the alarming rate of deaths, it has been a matter of shame that animals are not taken care of properly. The example of Kavaan elephant in this regard is of prominence. The only elephant at the Islamabad zoo made headlines across the world when it was revealed that the animal has been kept in chains for more than two decades.

Pakistanis endangering their lives for just to save animals, with the recent one regarding Abbottabad city of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where Rizwan, a Pakistani animal lover rescued a dog stranded in steep mountains after hiring a jeep and engaging other volunteers.

The campaign to get him freed by animal lovers in Pakistan and abroad prompted a series of Senate hearings and the Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat took up Kavaan’s issue. It was also recommended that the animal should be transported to animal sanctuary in Cambodia, but the plan never materialized.

The American singer, Cher also raised voice to get the elephant free; she tweeted and tagged notable figures from Pakistan but to no avail. However, the misery of Kavaan did not end. Some experts suggested that the animal was suffering from mental ailment.

Kavaan grew up in the Islamabad zoo as he was a calf when gifted by Sri Lankan government to General Zia. He has, under his belt a three-decade experience of serving kids and entertaining locals but the apathy displayed by the concerned authorities has damaged the repute of the country on the international foray.

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Cher had also requested Sheikh Anser Aziz, Islamabad Mayor, to shift Kavaan, and to improve the zoo itself. Cher had established ‘Free The Wild’ organization for which she wanted to secure custody of elephant, however, despite repeated requests, Kavaan was believed to be languishing in the country, though Aziz contends that the situation in zoo has improved a lot.

Not only Kavaan, many other animals in zoos are either deprived of suitable diet or are braving adverse climate conditions. Although there are also countless stories of Pakistanis endangering their lives for just to save animals, with the recent one regarding Abbottabad city of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where Rizwan, a Pakistani animal lover rescued a dog stranded in steep mountains after hiring a jeep and engaging other volunteers.

Recently, in April the rescue department in Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa also saved a stray dog’s life on an emergency notice lying at Bacha Khan Chowk.

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There can be countless examples to quote where Pakistani people took an extra mile to save animals; however, the burgeoning deaths inside zoos portray a dark picture because if animals cannot be saved inside zoos, how can they live peacefully in open fields.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Regardless of the goodness toward animals by individuals in Pakistan, it needs an all encompassing Animal Welfare/Animal Rights Law, then the zoo animals and all animals in private collections stand half a chance. The colonial animal welfare act currently operating is not fit for purpose.

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