WILD animals, if they are bred in captivity or made captive through some cruel stroke of fate, ought to be given sanctuary. They need to live in an environment that at least resembles their natural habitat. They can be a source of awe and wonderment for the onlooker but must never be treated as a means of amusement. But visit any zoo in Pakistan and you will see exotic species living – if you can call it that – in cages or concrete enclosures, listless or driven to neurosis, biting off their own tails, pacing about repetitively and plucking plumage in an involuntary frenzy. That is because they are seriously unwell, for the conditions they must endure are enough to drive any living creature insane.
Given our track record, Pakistan does not deserve zoos of any sort, public or private.
We asked you to send appreciative letters to the editor of DAWN for creating awareness about the plight of animals languishing in our zoos.
And now, given the conditions the new imports are being kept in at the Karachi zoo, we ask you to speak up for the animals once again. Send a clear message to zoo directors nationwide about how they need to shape up and seriously rethink the condition of the animals in their care. If they cannot even meet the most basic of animal welfare requirements, then why on earth must they insist on getting more and more animals to fill up the ghastly cages in zoos? Ask them to stop lamenting about the animals that they haven’t been able to acquire, and start taking care of the animals they do have for a change.
We encourage you to write letters to the editors of leading newspapers in Pakistan to bring the issue of the suffering the captive animals endure in our zoos to the public notice. The animals cannot speak up for themselves. Your voice can make a difference.
Please forward this alert to your friends, family and colleagues.