In captivity: Detrimental living conditions of animals

By: |Simra Shahab|

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Zoos have been a major cause of concern throughout the globe, where advocates of animal rights condemn such imprisonment. Little is known about what these captive animals are actually going through.

Most animal captivity is made an excuse for with borrowing crutches from “science” and “knowledge”, humans who have caused horrendous damage to the environment and destroyed many wild animals, and their habitat are to blame for many ailments of this world.

Wildlife conservation and breeding centers have opened and are legally permitted by the governments. However, many developing nations either have inadequate legislation and regulations towards it. Some are adopted and others, not followed with little or no concern for caged beings that end up in tiny spaces and sub-standard food and water supply.

Animals in captivity are observed to have shorter life spans due to unhealthy living circumstances, limited space, lack of proper care and loneliness.

Pakistan has 14 zoos of which 10 are government run and 4 are private, with about 22 wild animal breeding centers.

In a climate like Pakistan’s, safari culture should be promoted with a decent land mass in acres for them to move freely around in and does not disturb their wellbeing and natural living environment.

Many cases throughout the years have come into the forefront regarding the health and safety of the confined souls.

Back in 2011, lion cubs were found dead and no information was given to how and why did the unfortunate incident occur.

Maheen Zia, an eco-documentary filmmaker, and co-founder of the Pakistan Animal Welfare Society (Paws), is fervently opposed to confining animals.

“It’s simply unethical to remove an animal from its habitat and imprison it,” she says. “Animals are extremely private creatures and imprisonment destroys their emotional well-being, thereby affecting their breeding and longevity. Our government needs to gradually phase out the existing zoos completely and invite investment to develop more wildlife parks with breeding and safekeeping of indigenous species only. That will be wildlife protection in the truest sense.”

Recently, a grizzly bear in Lahore zoo at Jallo Park had been reported to be living in dreadful conditions, with no sign of food or water in searing temperatures.

These are only a few examples of the worst possible conditions the zoos here in Pakistan are being operated in.

“Zoos started out being places where one could learn about various habitats of the world and see wild animals in splendour,” says Zain Mustafa, founder of Society for Protection of Animal Rights (SPAR) and architect of a revamp effort.

“Unfortunately, with time, zoos have become increasingly commercial enterprises with little regard for animal welfare. I wanted to change that and transform Karachi Zoo into a place for learning and seeing animals in better conditions,” he adds, explaining his involvement in the enormous project despite his reservations to the idea of zoos in general.

Zoos should have a strict monthly survey, checkups and special care in the summers in order to keep these animals well provided and looked after.

Not abiding by healthcare and proper food and medication facilities for the animals should result in the closure of such facilities and immediate closure, immediately.

In addition, another dark aspect where these animals are hunted, skinned, sold in the black market, illegally held, restricted should have rigorous measures taken against them and the heinous activity stopped.

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