Less than a week after Saheli’s death, a group of youngsters coordinated a protest outside the Marghazar Zoo here on Friday. Twenty people, gathered through social media networks, came together to protest against what they believed was the cause of Saheli’s death: neglect.
The angry protesters stood outside the zoo holding placards and chanted slogans against the administration. Some shared their fond childhood memories with the elephant.
When they tried to approach the zoo deputy director, they were told by the staff that he was not in his office. This agitated them into demanding that the zoo be shut down if it can not care for the poor animals.
“What have the innocent animals done to deserve such treatment?” said Omar Saleem, a protester. He listed the changes that the zoo had undergone over a passage of time. The lions and panthers have gone missing, and then an elephant died “mysteriously.”
As the protest caught the public attention, the zoo administration got active. Sohail Ahmed, an official of the zoo, approached the protesters but could not convince them to leave. They stayed there for over four hours.
Numair Shahzada, who was spearheading the protest, admitted that the turnover was not as big as they had anticipated. “Still, it’s a good start; as long as people are ready to take a stand, we can bring some change,” he said, adding that they will continue to protest till they get some answers on how Saheli died. They are also working towards getting a petition signed.
While talking about Kaavan, the other elephant, he said, “No animal deserves to live in such deplorable conditions. He should be moved to an animal reserve or a larger enclosure.”
Saheli’s post-mortem report is due in on Monday.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 5th, 2012.