The BMC has failed to maintain simple water fountains as most of them are in a dilapidated condition. Just a few spells of rain and the area is flooded with no respite for people and animals alike. Just the sight of the crocodile pond or the Hippopotamus enclosure speaks a lot of the Zoo’s understanding of animals and their needs! The pool is small for young kids to swim, and there we have two hippos each weighing in excess of 1500 kgs struggling for space!
No animal must lead a life in captivity – and least of all in small confined spaces for human entertainment, even when disguised as education in zoos. Technology today allows us to watch every animal in their true natural habitat, enough research has happened for us to learn. Every Indian today has access to technology. Pictures and videos of living organisms exist online nowadays. Indians have begun to travel extensively, and today have the wherewithal to visit other countries and see them in their natural environment. Zoos are one of the cruellest forms of entertainment, driving animals to infinite trauma and depression. Worldwide, governments are beginning to sense public outcry against this and beginning to cut down new enclosures and stop breeding.
This debate brings me to the subject of the quality of our zoos, presence of competent authorities and availability of funds and resources. Two thousand one hundred fishes died last year in the Taraporevala Aquarium ‘maintained’ by the same BMC in Mumbai. And shamelessly, with no sense of remorse, they wish to set up an aquarium many times its size? With what sense of false confidence and competence I do not know! Hundreds of animals die in anguish every year. Mumbaikars must visit Byculla Zoo to understand how many cages lie vacant devoid of animals.
Given the circumstances, state of water and power in Maharashtra it is difficult to maintain a zoo. We lack adequate competence and skills to care of animals as all of us have our own priorities, it seems just ridiculous to allow new animals inside any zoo in the country. I write this on behalf of animal lovers in the country, and rational thinkers and urge the zoo authorities to abort all plans to bring in new animals from anywhere for any reason.
Few people must be reporting about this to media and the Central Zoo Authority too; but it represents the sentiments, wishes and demands of a large populace, and we all demand immediate action. As true animal lovers, we are eager and delighted to join hands with the BMC and anybody in the country to make life better for animals held in captivity in zoos.
Anand Siva / S. Krishna kumar
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)