Chimpanzee Tinku dies at Lahore Zoo
* Zoo management keeps hush on the death
By Shoaib Ahmed
LAHORE: The Lahore Zoo has lost one of its four chimpanzees, an endangered species, as a 4-year old chimpanzee, named Tinku, died of illness, however the zoo management had not made his death public, wildlife department sources told Daily Times on Friday.
The chimpanzee died because of zoo maltreatment and a lack of proper medical aid facilities.The zoo management had kept hush on Tinku’s death. Chimpanzees are priceless because they are an endangered African species. Chimpanzees and human beings have 70 percent genes in common and they are considered one of the most intelligent species of the animal kingdom.
Sources said that Tinku was born on April 2000 and was the first chimpanzee to have been born in Pakistan. His parents, named Romeo and Julie, have been in the zoo for over a decade. Since Romeo, the father, was hostile towards Tinku, he was separated from his parents and was brought up independently by zookeepers. However, Tinku’s sister, named Pinky, was living with the parents in the zoo. According to sources, Tinku fell ill towards the end of August and died in early September, however the zoo administration kept his death a secret. Sources claim that Tinku was suffering from pneumonia, which was a curable disease, and that proved that the zoo management had not taken care of the chimpanzee and were responsible for his death.
Sources told Daily Times that under the ‘Convention for International Trade of Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora’ (CITES), chimpanzee trade was banned and chimpanzees were declared precious. They should be protected for the conservation of the species, sources added. After the death of Tinku only three chimpanzees were left in Pakistani zoos, two in Karachi and one in Bhawalpur, sources said.
Sources added that the Lahore Zoo did not have a veterinary hospital like foreign zoos normally have. Moreover, it did not have x-ray facilities or stretchers to carry the animals in case of emergencies.
Sources said that a Capuchin monkey had died more than a year before, because the concrete roof of her cell had collapsed causing the monkey multiple fractures.
Sources said that the zoo elephant, named Suzi, was virtually turned into a beggar as the elephant collected money with her trunk from visitors. “This is a negative trend which is totally against zoo ethics,” sources said. They said that the 20-year-old Suzi was living alone, which was rather sad because elephants normally live in groups. There should be more elephants at the Lahore Zoo, they said.
Raja Javed, the director of the Lahore Zoo, was contacted thrice on his cell phone on Friday night but failed to answer the call. Ironically, Friday was the last day of a two-day international conference at the Lahore Zoo, which highlighted zoo management responsibilities and the handling and care of small mammals.