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Zoo fails to feed python for over a month

March 31, 2013

A 17-foot-long python at its enclosure in the zoo -Photo by
A 17-foot-long python at its enclosure in the zoo -White Star

KARACHI, March 30: The 17-foot-long python that had been brought to the zoo along with 30 other snakes after being ‘imported’ from the US has not eaten anything for more than a month, compelling the zoo administration to finally seek advice from animal experts on how to feed the reptile, it emerged on Saturday.

The python is the largest non-venomous snake currently housed in the zoo, sources said.

“Though some pythons do not eat for months, it is also a fact that the zoo administration didn’t make any effort to provide a clean environment to the imported species, which were just dumped in an enclosure where some reptiles had earlier died,” said a zoo staffer, explaining that lack of suitable environment also prevented the species from eating.

While an albino python has been suffering from a skin infection, an adult crocodile died at the zoo about four days back, according to the sources. They said the croc body was spotted on Friday.

Karachi zoo director Bashir Saddozai confirmed to Dawn the information about the python, but he rejected outright the reports about crocodile’s death.

“We are seeking advice from the Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) that also breeds snakes for research purposes at an animal house. The python was earlier shedding its skin and that could be the reason why it hadn’t eaten for such a long period,” he said.

The zoo director insisted that the albino python was alright under ‘expert care’.

The species were seized by customs as they had been imported without a mandatory import permit. After keeping the reptiles for almost a week, customs officials handed over them to the zoo without taking the Sindh Wildlife Department (SWD) into confidence. The situation caused the latter to write a letter to both customs and the zoo authorities, warning them of action under wildlife rules.

In a sharp contrast to the reply of the customs department which had questioned the wildlife department’s authority and warned it of action, the zoo responded in a compromising tone though it insisted that the department hadn’t committed any wrong by accepting the python consignment. “The zoo administration is not at fault nor did it take the pythons on its own. It kept these species on the insistence of customs authorities and also to protect the lives of pythons,” stated a letter dated Feb 15.