Another animal dies in capital’s zoo
ISLAMABAD: Another animal – fifth in the current year – died at the Marghazar Zoo due to alleged negligence of the zoo staff.
The carcass of the male urial has been shifted to a laboratory for an autopsy to ascertain the cause of the death.
However, veterinary doctor Bilal Khilji of the CDA, who is deputed at the zoo, claimed that a few days ago the urial was hit by one of its inmates. During the fighting, the urial sustained injuries to the neck which apparently led to its death, he added.
Sources said recently a baby urial also died in the zoo. During the current year, an ostrich and two zebras lost their lives.
I agree a zebra and an ostrich apparently died because of the negligence of the staff but the urial had a fight with another inmate,” Mr Khilji said, adding in order to establish the negligence of the staff two inquiries were under progress.
In reply to a question about the death of the baby urial, Mr Khilji said it died a natural death.
The sources said the zoo had only one veterinary doctor who had no supporting staff. They said the officer took interest in other activities, including looking after the zoo’s stores etc.
He is also holding the charge of deputy director zoo, an administrative job, which was affecting his performance. However, the doctor defended his dual positions and said he was performing his job in a perfect way.
When contacted by Dawn, Director Zoo Mohammad Irfan said he was told that the urial had sustained injuries. “We are determining the cause of the urial’s death. I am also investigating the death of the zebras and the ostrich.”
He said one veterinary officer cannot properly handle the entire zoo. “I have been requesting the authorities concerned to appoint more staff for the treatment of animals.”
The director said following the death of the urial, he had asked the doctor to ensure his presence in the zoo during his duty hours. “I have asked deputy director Sohail Ghazi to look after all affairs pertaining to outside the premises while the doctor would remain in the zoo.”
Spreading over 25 acres, the Marghazar Zoo was opened in 1978. But it has recently been criticised for the poor conditions in which animals are made to live. At present, the zoo is housing 824 birds of 42 species and 95 animals.
Despite protests held across the world against the plight of the animals in the zoo, the CDA is yet to improve facilities for the animals in the zoo. Rights activists have also spoken up about Kavaan, the lone elephant, whose partner Saheli died in 2012, also reportedly due to negligence.
Kavaan was only recently unchained but is living in a shabby three-walled structure.
The animal broke the fence around his enclosure recently with the zoo staff saying he acted out because of the high temperatures, inadequate facilities and also because he was alone.
However, the director said a mud pond had been constructed for the elephant and the animal was being given proper care. “Talks are also underway with the Sri Lankan government to bring a female elephant to the zoo,” he said.