New Delhi: Pakistani social media users are angry and asking their government to shut down all zoos if they do not have money to provide food to animals in cages.
Sharing the video, Quatrina Hussain, Country Director of the CDRS Benji Project for animal welfare, Pakistan said in her post on Twitter: “We have no right to zoos if this is how we treat animals. Karachi Zoo fails to pay food suppliers. The animals are already in awful shape.
My heart is breaking. Let’s shut down all zoos.”
Irum Azeem Farooque, a wildlife expert said in her post: “The Karachi Zoo should immediately shut down. The administration has no shame. Is this how we treat caged animals? Karachi zoo fails to pay food suppliers. My heart is broken to see this situation, please raise your voice.”
According to Pakistani channel ARY news, the contractor who is responsible for supplying the food, has pasted a notice on the gate of the Karachi Zoo that he won’t be able to supply the food because the Karachi Municipal Corporation (KMC) has not cleared his bills for the last 11 months and he does not have money to feed the animals.
The administration at the Zoo also confirmed the development saying that they have been rationing the food and now left with food supplies only for a few days in ration godown. According to the report, many animals, including “pride” of the zoo, lions have become emaciated due to lack of proper food. Lack of proper facilities including health have led to a worst-case scenario of animal deaths at the Karachi Zoo. In one such case this year, the second of the two lions, illegally brought to Karachi in 2017, died mysteriously.
There are four elephants also in the zoo who have been very sick for the last few months due to lack of proper diet. After the petition filed by the wildlife experts, The Sindh High Court ordered the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation’s (KMC) to get in touch with the German veterinary experts immediately to examine the health of elephants.
“Conditions were really bad when we came in 2016. We feel sick to see that the conditions are worse now. Back then we handed a mandatory and obligatory report to the responsible authorities, the mayor of Islamabad and the wildlife department, especially regarding elephants, lions and other animals at the zoo. We had recommended important changes in the facility. Our recommendations have not been implemented,” said Dr Amir Khalil from Four Paws, an international animal welfare organisation.
Same is the case of Lahore and Islamabad zoos where most of the animals are in poor health.
According to wildlife experts, wildlife receives either little or no protection in Pakistan because for a country where human rights are routinely violated, “how can we expect animal rights to be protected?”
Though Pakistan has many wildlife acts to protect animals these are violated with impunity, including by the Imran Khan government which allows rich Arabs to hunt “endangered” species including the Bustard.