Much like some of the animal species housed here, the zoo today is fighting for survival
It was a repeat of the pattern one had witnessed around Eid ul Fitr, early this year. Only a couple of days ahead of Eid ul Azha, the government re-imposed a stricter lockdown in Lahore, a city that had just seen frenzied activity by the people who were out and about, mostly going Eid-shopping which this time included purchasing the sacrificial animals. The cattle markets had been flooded with customers, as with animals and dealers, and no one seemed to care about the safety protocols or SOPs. A curfew-like lockdown, which came into effect on the stroke of July 27 midnight, was perhaps the best answer to such a situation.
But if one views it from another perspective, one can’t help but wonder whether quiet, deserted streets and parks and other public places are what Eid festivity is going to look like, this year.
Consider Lahore Zoo, for instance. One of the oldest and largest — not to mention, the busiest — zoos in the country. It used to be the poor man’s go-to place with their family members on public holidays, especially the two Eids. Besides, the Wildlife Department would earn great revenues on these occasions, which helped it run the affairs of the place. But over four months since the first lockdown in March, the zoo is struggling with a shortage of funds. Much like some of the animal species housed here (remember the video footage of a caged black bear showing symptoms of zoochosis that surfaced on social media recently?), the zoo today is fighting for survival. And how.