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Fowl play: Conditions at the Karachi Zoo


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IT is a picture in contrast: in Islamabad on Friday, rescuers were alerted to an injured eagle that had been stranded in a tree for two days. It proved to be a steppe eagle, a migratory bird from Central Asia and a rare visitor to Pakistan in this season. It was taken to the vet at the Islamabad Zoo and will be set free after recovery. Meanwhile, as reported in our Sindh pages, at least 15 large birds under the care of the Karachi Zoo have died in a little more than a year. The most recent was a macaw found dead in its cage, apparently the victim of neglect and an environment detrimental to its health; several owls died within mere days of their arrival. Underscoring the irony, most of these birds were donated to the zoo to celebrate the facility’s first zoo day, held on Feb 28 last year.

The Karachi Zoo regularly loses other animals too, and for similar reasons. But notwithstanding media reports, conditions just don’t seem to improve. Zoo officials blame the situation on financial constraints, saying that if they were given even 10pc of the revenue the facility earns, improvements would be possible; an order that 25pc of the revenue should be spent on the facility was never im-plemented, they complain. Things are rapidly reaching a crisis point.

If the zoo administra-tion cannot improve the conditions in which the animals are kept, it might be time to start thinking about shutting down the facility for humane reasons. Certainly, as a first step the zoo must stop accepting or acquiring animals or birds that it cannot pro-perly house. This grim procession of death and neglect has to be brought to an end.

Comments (4) Closed

ANIS M YUSUF May 22, 2013 06:59am
in a city which has no respect for human life, we cant expect anything but neglect to an animal zoo, which can only thrive in a normal environment, which has rarely been there since the creation of the country.!!!
Gerry D'Cunha May 22, 2013 08:19am
Anis: your comments makes complete sense - human's are slaughtered like animals every day and animals die of hunger and negligent...shame on us - do we follow what we preach
Naheed Iqbal May 22, 2013 07:29pm
the zoo should close down- we as a nation, are not yet emotionally, intellectually or spiritually at a stage where we can recognize and respect animal rights- maybe the first step would be to have all concerned citizens sign a petition and have an animal rights body submit it to the court - this is awful
Agha Ata (USA) May 23, 2013 01:03am
Condition in zoos is not very different from the condition in some Pakistani cities, only slightly better!