Saturday November 27, 2021

PHC moved against rising deaths of animals at Peshawar Zoo

June 25, 2020

PESHAWAR: A writ petition was filed in Peshawar High Court on Wednesday seeking investigation and fixation of responsibility for the deaths of various animals at the Peshawar Zoo.

The petitioners, numbering 24 including Dr Ali Jan, Jahan Mahmud Aurangzeb, Adil Zareef, Rukhsana Kuli Khan Khattak, Farzana Khan Wasim and others based their case on Article 31 and preamble of the Constitution and the corresponding Islamic Character of the state with verses and Ahadith establishing the claim of the zoo animals not being treated well.

The petition was filed through Ali Gohar Advocate.

A number of citizens of Peshawar city in their petition sought directions that the conditions at the zoo be raised to international acceptable standards and those animals not suited to the environment in Peshawar should be returned to their natural habitats or suitable sanctuaries.

The petitioners also wanted directions to the effect that animals not suited to the environment at Peshawar be prohibited from being kept at the zoo altogether.

The petitioners prayed for Peshawar Zoo to be made environmentally friendly with tree plantations according to international standards. They wanted properly trained and experienced staff hired to look after the animals at the zoo, as well as establishing a laboratory for the diagnosis and prescription of medicines to the animals suffering from ailments.

The final relief, according to the petitioners, is in the establishment of an animal rescue and treatment centre that is especially responsible for stray animals that live in our society. They said vaccination and neutering of stray animals can be done at the centre so as to ensure that various diseases such as rabies are avoided and the population of the animals is controlled.

It may be recalled that civil society members in the past had cautioned against setting up of a zoo in Peshawar citing various reasons when the government announced it had selected Qadirabad locality on Palosi Road as the venue.

However the previous Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led government went ahead and the zoo was finally inaugurated in Feb 2018. Ever since there have been news of dozens of animals dying in captivity including a snow leopard.

A couple of weeks back the last surviving giraffe, out of a total of three brought from Africa to Peshawar few months ago, died as well. There have been several online petitions and reports in recent days expressing concern about the disturbing deaths of animals at Peshawar Zoo.