Plethora of problems at Islamabad Zoo

ISLAMABAD: The issues of a lack of care for the crippled and senile animals, and unhygienic conditions at the Islamabad Zoo have not been addressed for quite some time.Islamabad Zoo Deputy Director Saleem Ansari said that the Wildlife Department had failed to draw up any plans to replace these animals. There's also no effort to provide space to the animals at the substitute place. As far as senile animals are concerned, they also need to be replaced with fresh blood. Among these seven senile animals is Hippopotamus, the natural life span of which is 35 years, Ansari added.  "The zoo is an exhibition house which needs to have healthy and vigorous animals," he said. A group of visitors, disappointed at seeing empty cages, said that the zoo should have been a model for other cities of the country but it gave a pathetic look. When contacted a CDA official, he said that the authority was well aware of the situation and is working on to bring more animals and birds in the zoo. He said that the CDA would award a tender soon to the contractors for the renovation of the zoo.The CDA official also said that a project to set up a new zoo is also in progress. "In that zoo we would have a maximum number of birds and animals," he added. Masood Ali, a senior doctor of veterinary medicines (DVM) said that many animals are leading miserable lives because of the unavailability of their companions. "Like human beings, animals also grow old and develop physical problems but just can't describe their pain and sufferings. They need immediate attention in the shape of separate space where they can be kept like their other companions. "Once these animals are shifted from the zoo, their immediate replacement is needed because there is no concept of empty cages in any zoo of the world," Masood added. At present, a dozen crippled animals are at the Islamabad Zoo with problems like rickets, deformed toes and legs, chronic sway back, and deformed necks, he added."Animals and birds with such chronic problems do not match the quality of criteria of the zoo exhibits. These animals are occupying areas which can be utilised for healthy animals and should be separated from healthy ones as a better management tool," he added. The official also informed that the pairing of animals is another big issue at the Islamabad Zoo as there are two female chimpanzees but no male one. The officials said that import of a chimpanzee would cost millions and the zoo authorities are engaged in correspondence with a private zoo in Karachi for a male chimpanzee under an exchange programme. 

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