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The World News

Published Date: Jul 9, 2019

Moot rings alarm bells over ‘miserable state of zoos’

Zoos in Pakistan “questionable” on many fronts including capacity, skilled human resources, infrastructure and security.
Islamabad: Before gearing up to fully protect zoos and wildlife parks, there remains a need to increase civic engagement and educate the public about animals rights as well as their importance to biodiversity and ecosystem, noted experts on Monday.During a seminar titled, “The State of Zoos in Pakistan: Searching for Humanity,” convened by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), panellists believed that citizen involvement would help resolve the issues of poor management of zoos while citizen liaison committees could be instrumental in directly reporting about the miserable situation to the authorities.
It was remarked that there was a need to rethink the fundamental approach towards animals, zoos and wildlife conservation. Animals were said to not be treated as an object but species with some basic rights like other species of the planet Earth.
Center for Culture and Development Executive Director Dr Nadeem Omar Tarar said that animals were a part of human habitat and the same humanity must be extended to all species of the planet Earth.
He termed the zoos as prisons where animals were being kept as innocent prisoners. The Inefficiency of the management, poor governance structure and the lack of accountability mechanism were largely responsible for the miserable state of zoos in the country, he added.
SDPI Research Fellow and Climate Change Unit Head Dr Imran Khalid highlighted the history and evolution of zoos along with best global practices. He claimed that zoos could serve to educate us about the value of biodiversity amid extinction of species all over the world as a result of climatic changes.
Environmental degradation and extreme weather events in the form of heat waves and droughts were not only negatively impacting the humans but also other species, including animals, which needed to be protected, he maintained.
The state of zoos in Pakistan was called questionable on many fronts including capacity, lack of skilled human resources, poor infrastructure and a lack of security.
Dr Khalid urged the authorities to take the responsibility of conserving the zoos and wildlife as per international biodiversity conventions.
A biodiversity specialist Dr Ejaz Ahmed said that it was unfortunate that the state of the zoos in the country had deteriorated over time since zoos and wildlife parks played an important role in the conservation of extinct species.
He pointed to the need to educate the public, especially the visitors, about the importance of animal conservation and biodiversity for the ecosystem. However, the authorities also need to take care of the animals’ food, health and provide a recreational environment as per international standards, he continued.
COMSATS University BioScience Department Scientific Officer Katie Sipra stressed the need of conserving animals in zoos through animal management, research, recreation and educational programs.
She said zoos should be taken care of by highly trained individuals who are passionate about their profession.
Zoos and wildlife parks should be accredited and must meet the international standards, which include living environments, social groupings, nutrition, enrichment, veterinary programs, involvement in conservation and research, education programs, safety policies and procedures and physical facilities, she concluded.