Remember seeing pictures of two giraffes wandering in the garden of a Karachi house? Some people refused to believe it and thought the image was photoshopped, while others spoke about animal cruelty.
SAMAA Digital did some digging and found that it was actually true. A family living in Defence Phase VI has kept a pair of giraffes at their house.
A team of the Sindh Wildlife Department visited the house on April 17 after receiving many complaints.
“We told the owners that they can’t keep giraffes in a residential area,” Mumtaz Soomro, who works for the wildlife department, told SAMAA Digital. “They have agreed to shift them to their farmhouse in Gadap Town.”
He said that the giraffes are about two years old. “Giraffes don’t pose any danger to humans,” he added.
Any person who wants to keep any wild animal at their house must get a licence first, said conservator Javed Mahar.
“The licence does not mention what animals a person is allowed to keep,” he explained. Most people keep black partridges, peacocks or deer at their house. Some, on the other hand, use the licence to keep lions, zebras or, as in this case, giraffes, he added.
The family with pet giraffes holds a mini-zoo permit, said Soomro. This permit, which costs Rs10,000 per year, gives people permission to import different kinds of animals. The owners will, however, have to apply for licence renewal on June 30, he said.
Giraffes have been listed as “vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List. In December 2016, the IUCN noted that the tallest land mammal’s population decreased by 36% to 40% in 2015.
The reasons for the population decline were said to be “illegal hunting, habitat loss and changes through expanding agriculture and mining, increasing human-wildlife conflict, and civil unrest.”