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Karachi Zoo: some suggestions

December 07, 2012

THIS refers to news report ‘Lack of care seen behind six deaths at zoo’ (Nov 22). The deplorable state of affairs at the Karachi Zoo become even more poignant when one considers the huge dearth of positive recreational and leisure opportunity for the 20 million denizens of this metropolis. Set aside the beaches, ill-maintained as these are, and there is precious little left.

In the West, in spite of the endless list of options for quality time spending, zoos remain one of the top attractions. In the US, for example, visitors to zoos on an annual basis outnumber all visitors to baseball, basketball and American football games combined.

A well-managed zoo is not only a recreational opportunity, it is a centre for creating awareness of wildlife conservation and broader environmental issues. It is a centre for conservation through captive breeding, and it can be a centre for research. It is not impossible for the Karachi Zoo to attain such a multi-faceted status, but someone has to take bold decisions.

These decisions should include a total ban on purchasing more animals for the zoo until such time that at least a master plan has been made, some enclosures have been redesigned and staff training has been initiated. If one wishes, all this is possible within six months.