'They're animal prisons': Celebs want zoos 'abolished' in Pakistan after rare white lion dies

Several agree that there's no point of keeping animals locked up when we, as a country, can't afford to feed them.

Entertainment Desk November 25, 2021

A rare white lion died in Karachi Zoo on Wednesday after its lungs stopped working due to pneumonia, a spokesperson for the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) claimed. He said that the big cat was ill for the last 13 days and suffering from Pulmonary TB which was being treated by veterinarians but "he could not recover and died due to his illness.”

Outraged, numerous celebrities and netizens called out authorities for animal abuse provided the shocking state the lion's body was photographed in, appearing seemingly ill-fed, starved and judging by the scars, abused.

Brought to the Karachi Zoo from Africa in 2012, the age of the lion was between 14 to 15 years. After a team of veterinarians performed an autopsy, the findings revealed he had developed pneumonia and its lungs had stopped working. However, some reports also claimed the lion died of a cardiac arrest due to excess fat deposit on its heart.

Now, a host of celebrities are pleading the government and law enforcement agencies to put an end to the ‘zoo culture’ while urging them to hold accountable those keeping wild animals in such deplorable spaces without taking care of their needs.

Taking to Instagram, actor Ushna Shah shared a photo of the now, dead lion writing, "They [the zoo authorities] are trying to pass [the cause of] the lion's death off as tuberculosis but we all know that the contractor stopped giving food and for a long time, these majestic animals were starved! Also, just take a look at the scars on his body! From previous videos of the Islamabad zoo etc., one can guess the unqualified zoo keepers used to lash him whenever they interacted with him."

She went on to remind her followers that Pakistan has displayed its inability to take care of animals, stray or wild, thus, "zoos should be abolished immediately! Pakistan doesn't even have money to feed the animals the quantity of food they need to maintain a healthy weight."


A post shared by Ushna Shah (@ushnashah)

Ayesha Omar was mortified to discover how animals are being kept in the Karachi Zoo. Echoing the same sentiments, she tweeted, "Apparently because of lack of funds, this African lion died today. They say it was tuberculosis. He was being kept in the same enclosure as the lioness with such a contagious disease."

Taking to her Instagram stories, Omar shared the video that circulated earlier of the same lion starving and wrote, "This video from a few days ago, I'm guessing it's the same lion that died. This is horrific."

Sharing another photo of the turtles being kept in the Karachi Zoo, Omar added, "The deplorable state of the Karachi Zoo, because apparently their funds have been cut off completely. My heart is going out for these turtles plucked out of their natural habitat, treated like this..."

Dubbing the claim suggesting the lion died of pneumonia a farce, activist Shaniera Akram lashed out on the micro-blogging site: "He died because we couldn't look after him! Zoos should be a place where animals go for protection, hospitalisation, rehabilitation, recreation and breeding! At the very least, people can then go to observe them. Anything less than that are not zoos, they are animal prisons!"

Yashma Gill detailed how, after coming across the video of the starving lion, she decided to visit the Karachi Zoo to feed him herself. But upon inquiring, she was told that she wouldn't be allowed to take food inside. "I was assured that the lion, along with the rest of the animals, are being properly fed now," following which, she was relieved. "So I requested my manager to hopefully arrange a visit for me tomorrow, five hours later, this picture is what I receive from a friend of mine. Whoever was involved in this hideous crime, are you happy now?! Will the government release funds now?" she asked, furious. "I won't write any further because I will lose control over my words and wish equally as bad on the humans who let this happen."

In another story, she urged, "It's time we put an end to the zoo culture. Especially when countries like ours can't afford to feed animals."

Armeena Khan cried out loud, "Torturing them, starving them, bezubaan par zulm kesay karletay ho? Mera dil hil jaata hai. Fear the day you will be held accountable." While actor Yasir Hussain, hinting at the Muslim League Noon’s symbol, tagged Maryam Nawaz saying, "Sher tha, ap he bacha lety... (It was a lion, couldn’t you have saved him?)"

Before the news of the lion's passing surfaced, several including Anoushey Ashraf, Ahsan Khan, Fatima Bhutto and Ahmed Ali Butt had urged authorities to take notice of his heartbreaking condition.

Ashraf had questioned, "What on earth is happening here?" While Khan called the neglect 'shameful' and 'terrible' while sharing a hadith that urges humans to treat animals like equals.

Bhutto lamented, "This is so cruel and so obscene. These are living beings. Who is the contractor refusing to send food? And why does the zoo not have funds available? Where have they been spent? Does the city government have no shame?" While actor and rapper, Butt pleaded, "For the love of God! Please take care of animals."

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