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Man files petition against ‘criminal treatment’ of Karachi zoo animals

Notices issued to KMC, wildlife department

SAMAA | - Posted: Feb 11, 2021 | Last Updated: 7 months ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Feb 11, 2021 | Last Updated: 7 months ago

In this photograph taken on February 28, 2018, a tiger is pictured in a cage at the Karachi Zoo in Karachi. Photo: AFP

A man has filed a constitutional petition in the Sindh High Court over the “criminal treatment” of animals at the Karachi zoo.

Notices were issued to the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, which runs the zoo, Sindh Wildlife Department, and zoo administration during the hearing on Wednesday.

Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar asked how many animals are there at the zoo and what steps have been taken by the administration to provide sufficient facilities for them.

The constitutional petition, filed by animal activist Yahya Ahmed, said that the “condition of animals being kept at the zoo was alarming and the lives of the creatures were at risk”.

It argued that hygiene, food requirements, and health conditions of the animals were being “severely neglected” and they were being kept in small cages.

Other petitioners include Sophia Samina Faisal, Rami Roy, Sophia Faisal Kapadia, and Shah Bano Haroon.

S. Yahya Ahmed and three others moved the SHC stating that the

It went to detail the condition of the following animals at the zoo:

  • Ducks: The ducks are resistant to stepping in the pond. The water that they are meant to reside in has been infected with disease-causing microorganisms including fungus.
  • Lioness: The lioness seems to be excessively fatigued and overtaxed. Her enclosure is not up to international standards.
  • Monkey: The monkey lives in a small cage that is littered with empty milk cartons and soft drink cans.
  • Tigers: There are two enclosures for tigers. One enclosure’s tub is overflowing with water, while the second cage has no water facility.
  • Turkeys: They are being kept in a small cage that hinders their ability to fly and roam freely.
  • Deer: Their enclosure is extremely dry and arid.

The petition said that there is mongoose infestation, which is a threat to humans visiting the zoo. The management “must be held accountable to the public at large and ordered to investigate and reform its practices and procedures to improve the safety and maintenance” of the zoo, it added.

“The animals are undoubtedly in pain, distress, agony that far outweighs the recreational and educational purposes for which they are kept in this condition.” It said that the people visiting the zoo “tease the animals by throwing articles, pelting stones, poking them” and this causes them more agony.

The petition asks for the following:

  • Details of the number of animals at the zoo.
  • Disclose the medical records of the animals.
  • Hire an experienced independent veterinary doctor to conduct a health assessment of all animals at the zoo.
  • Change the facility’s status from zoo to wildlife sanctuary.
  • Hand over the control of the Sindh Wildlife Department.
  • Relocate all animals that require a cold/chilly habitat.

The court has summoned the wildlife conservator and senior director on March 10.

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