KARACHI: Zoo animals continued to suffer the unseemly behaviour of crowds and the administration for a sixth consecutive day with no respite from ear-splitting music, it emerged during a visit to the facility on Wednesday.
Zoo staff told Dawn that the administration had allowed a group to play loud music for a week at the facility that they said had been visited by hundreds and thousands of people over the past few days.
A motor vehicle modified into a train to attract visitors also created a lot of noise.
“It’s a big show for the zoo administration that has been making huge profits since Eid. Animals, however, have been continuously suffering. You can see them being targeted by children who use toy guns to tease and hurt the wild species,” said a zoo keeper. He added that it was difficult to stop children from such activities in a huge rush.
While the rude behaviour and noisy atmosphere had forced some animals to take refuge in hideouts within their enclosures, there were others such as lions that got furious and roared.
Some visitors were seen throwing eatables into animal cages.
Some armed policemen apparently providing an escort to a family were also spotted in the zoo.
“The administration needs to start a clean-up drive. Look at the dark greenish water of the pond. It’s awful. It seems that the pond hasn’t been cleaned for ages,” a visitor said, adding that the zoo should be managed in a scientific way so that people from all strata of society could visit it. Some visitors complained that the zoo administration had adopted a practice of doubling the entry fee as well as charges of recreational activities and eatables on holidays. “Rs10 has been added to the fee of each recreational activity and entry,” a zoo staffer said while verifying the information.
He also said different parties had been allowed to operate inside the zoo without any proper agreement in writing.
The zoo director was not available for comments.
When Dawn contacted senior director of culture, sports and recreation, Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC), Shoaib Waqar, he expressed his ignorance over music playing and use of toy guns. He said he would inquire about the matter. He agreed that the zoo needed to be run on scientific lines and that the present state of the zoo was a matter of concern.
The zoo administration, he said, had held a meeting with the World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan which, he said, would give their recommendations for zoo improvement.
On the issue of overcharging, he said: “We have done our paperwork for every business being run at the zoo. We have also issued a show-cause notice to the contractor managing the entry gates for increasing the ticket fare.”