ISLAMABAD: The 22-year-old female elephant Saheli, gifted by the government of Sri Lanka in 1991, died at the Islamabad Zoo on May 1. The average age of an elephant ranges from 60 to 70 years and sometimes it can even go up to 90 to 100 years. Unfortunately, Saheli died at a very young age, highlighting the high animal mortality rate at the zoo.
The cause of Saheli’s sudden death needs to be investigated. The Islamabad Zoo has been facing a shortage of large animals for a long time now, and Saheli’s death is yet another blow for the zoo and those who frequent it. For some reason, the strength of the zoo lies in birds, while big animals are seemingly neglected, with the only lion having died a few years ago.
Private circus companies own elephants, which perform an average of three shows daily but do not suffer from health problems. These elephants travel extensively to almost all parts of the country and remain fit, whereas, elephant mortality in state-owned zoos is high. I demand to know why proper health standards are not maintained in our zoos.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 3rd, 2012.
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