No to zoos: Animal rights activists press govt for wildlife park

Say inhumane to keep animals caged


Our Correspondent February 15, 2016
PHOTO: AFP

PESHAWAR: The Sarhad Conservation Network and Frontier Heritage Trust have asked the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government to start work on Manglot Wildlife Park in Nowshera.

The park will provide a natural sanctuary for wildlife instead of animals being caged in zoos, said a press release issued on Monday. Manglot Wildlife Park was first set up on the hilltops and plains of Khwara Range near the Indus River in Nizampur. Environmentalists considered the park a safe and natural sanctuary for endangered species.

The original idea was first floated by the Awami National Party government, but shelved over resource constraints and politicking. The organisations stressed instead of caging animals in a newly-announced 29 acre zoo, there should be a natural park for them. Some environmentalists and wildlife activists opposed the proposed zoo.

Peshawar zoo

Work on the mega zoo project for Peshawar was inaugurated by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairperson Imran Khan recently.

Animal rights activists worldwide consider the idea of zoos outdated and the emerging trend is to promote wildlife reserves and parks. At such locations, large grazing lands ensure the movement of animals is not restricted to cages and their natural habitat is replicated.

The press release quoted Maureen Lines, an ardent animal rights activist in Pakistan, as saying “Animals for zoos will either be brought from other appalling zoos or even captured to live in the humid and hot environment that even humans in this city can’t bear.”

She pointed out climate change was also an ever present threat in Pakistan as was witnessed in 2015. “The cruelty imposed on the animals when they are captured and transported is well documented, like [the] horrific capturing of elephants,” she said.

“Tourists should be facilitated to visit natural habitat reserves in K-P instead of wasting millions on development of Peshawar zoo,” said Sarhad Conservation Network and Heritage Convener Trust Adil Zarif.

“As in any government project, sustainability remains questionable,” said Zarif. He added the PTI government should be aware caged animals face issues such as neglect across the world and particularly in Pakistan.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 16th, 2016.

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