KARACHI: Two elephants, that were imported from Tanzania for the Karachi zoo, have arrived but will not be used to give people rides, keeping in mind the fact that these animals are slowly disappearing from the face of this planet, said Karachi Zoo district officer Mansoor Qazi on Sunday.
Most zoos and circuses across the world are banned from giving people rides on animals, said Qazi, adding that the practice will also be followed at the Karachi zoo.
Four Tanzanian elephants, three males and one female between the ages of two and four years, were imported by the former city nazim Mustafa Kamal and community and development EDO Rehana Saif in June 2009 after the Karachi zoo’s resident elephant, Anarkari, died in 2006. Two of the animals were meant to be kept at the Karachi zoo while the other two were to be taken to the safari park, said Qazi.
The elephants, however, arrived months after schedule because of delays caused by restrictions on import and trade of animals as well as transportation issues.
Moreover, the elephants could not be brought to the zoo earlier as their enclosure was undergoing reconstruction, said Qazi.
He added, however, that the elephants have arrived at a very opportune moment as schools have closed for summer vacations and the children will be able to visit the new arrivals.
The zoo administration also plans to import giraffes and river horses, he added.
The objective behind keeping animals at zoos is to provide them with a safe environment where the endangered species are protected and at the same time, exhibited for the purpose of entertainment as well as education, said Qazi.
Around Rs16,000 to Rs 17,000 are spent annually on food for elephants, said district officer Raza Abbas Rizvi.
Published in the Express Tribune, May 31st, 2010.