LAHORE: The Lahore Zoo administration has proposed putting down a white tiger, a zebra and a brown bear as they are suffering from lethal diseases.

The white tiger has acute paralysis and it can’t move, the brown bear, rescued from a political procession in 2015, has lost its sight and the female zebra has joints issue as it’s bone has gone deformed and swollen.

According to sources, all three animas are leading a miserable life of anguish and pain but red-tapism in Punjab Wildlife Department has made things even difficult. The proposal for putting down these animals by the zoo administration had been made but it has to get approval by the Zoo Management Committee. After that, the proposal would go to the Wildlife, Forest and Fisheries secretary for the approval. The sources said it’s a lengthy and cumbersome process and during which, the animals suffered persistent agony.

A wildlife official, talking to Dawn, said red-tapism was the basic reason for the delay in the putting down sick animals as the powers for such action rested with the wildlife secretary or the director general.

“The deputy director or the official concerned of a zoo or a wildlife park should be authorised to take quick decision on such issues. At present, only the secretary or the DG can order their culling.”

According to the official, the international practices for such birds and animals are that the zoos or parks would keep a photo record of the disabled birds and animals and put them down if they were in a state of acute pain.

Punjab Wildlife Department Director General Tahir Hamdani told Dawn that the department was reviewing the policy of putting down sick animals and was considering to give the rights of decision to the zoo curator in case of unavoidable culling of animals.

Mr Hamdani said that department would take immediate decision regarding the three animals mentioned above and other animals at other zoos and wildlife parks, as well.

The DG said the department was also working on creating awareness in the public regarding visit to the zoo and how to behave with the animals and birds in captive breeding.

“We are planning to hold a visual art competition, which would later culminate in a visual art exhibition,” he added.

Published in Dawn, February 24th, 2021

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