In a bid to remove dacoits from Shalo Belo near Sukker, the Sindh Minister for Culture and Tourism, Rauf Siddiqui, is planning a safari park where hunting will be one of the many facilities offered to the country’s recreation starved public. According to a report in DAWN,
It is the present government’s idea to provide maximum possible recreational spots to public.
The managing director of the Sindh Tourism Corporation has been lined up to be deputed as the director of this project. If all goes as planned, tourists to Sukker will soon be able to line up, rifles in hand, for their turn to kill animals confined somewhere on the 150 square kilometers alloted for this unique safari park.
The Central Zoo Authority that regulates the functioning of zoos in India defines safari parks as
specialised zoos where the captive animals are housed in any large naturalistic enclosures and the visitors are allowed to enter the enclosure to view the animals in a mechanised vehicle or a predetermined route from close quarters.
In a typical safari park, as is the case with ones located in or around cities, one is supposed to go see the animals, not kill them. Being offered up to be shot by blood thirsty tourists on vacation is no less than canned hunting.
The Born Free Foundation defines canned hunting as
the hunting of captive animals that are trapped within enclosures and have little chance of escape.
The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums requires its members to have a high standard of ethical conduct, and opposes
the use, or supply of animals for “canned hunting”, i.e. shooting animals in confined spaces, or when semi tranquilised or restrained.
No Pakistani zoo is listed as a member on their website and probably none subscribe to their ethics either. They have their own standard operating procedures, and tend to work in mysterious ways. Here, the Zoological Survey Department advises the government on all zoological matters, including the conservation and management of wildlife. Where will the animals for the canned hunts come from? Such trivial details are unclear at the moment, but the public has a right to know on whose advice the Sindh Minister for Culture and Tourism initiated a project that includes canned hunting in a safari park.
We encourage you to write letters to the editors of leading newspapers in Pakistan to bring the issue of canned hunts to the public notice.
All letters should include the writer’s full name, postal address, e-mail address, and in the case of Pakistan, a day-time telephone number.