A rare white lion kept at the Karachi Zoo passed away last night, November 24, and a picture of its corpse circulating on the internet prompted outrage as people questioned the relevance of zoos. Ayesha Omar, Ushna Shah, Shaniera Akram and Fatima Bhutto are amongst the many celebrities who posted about the incident expressing their distress.
The Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) tweeted that the death was caused by the lion’s lungs collapsing due to pulmonary tuberculosis. KMC spokesman Ali Hassan Sajid said the lion had been ill for 13 days. He also said it had been unsuccessfully treated by veterinarians. The lion was between 14 and 15 years of age and was brought to the Karachi Zoo from Africa in 2012. It was a rare breed.
Recently, some upsetting footage circulated on social media showcasing the neglect of zoo animals. The video featured a starving lion. The KMC had denied accusations that there was a food shortage at the zoo and called the video “outdated”.
The death of the lion led to angry people venting their frustrations on social media. Many celebrities have also spoken out against the need for zoos at all.
Actor Ayesha Omar was quick to express her horror at the way the animals are being treated at the zoo.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&features=eyJ0ZndfZXhw
This country is not “morally equipped” to be the safe-keepers of animals, believes actor Ushna Shah.
Activist Shaniera Akram took to Twitter to redefine what the purpose of zoos is supposed to be as opposed to the “animal prisons” they end up being instead. We very much agree!
Actor Yashma Gill narrated her experience at the zoo on Wednesday where she’d gone to feed the lion. She was denied entry but was reassured that the feeding and care of the animals was being handled. We can imagine her shock and devastation as the news of the lion’s passing broke the very same day.
Gill put out a call to action to “put an end to the zoo culture”.
Singer and activist Shehzad Roy retweeted an apology for the majestic animal saying “I am so sorry we failed you”.
Ahsan Khan, one of the celebrities who’d condemned the mistreatment of animals when the video of the starving lion first surfaced, shared Federal Minister of Maritime Affairs Ali Haider Zaidi’s tweet to condemn zoo culture and support a wildlife habitat instead.
He also shared facts that disprove the purpose of zoos being conservation.
Author Fatima Bhutto re-shared United Rescue’s post and declared us unfit to care for zoos.
We too think the call should be ‘down with the zoos’ because they indeed are animal prisons and no being deserves such inhumane treatment. All animals should be free, which is why animal sanctuaries and wildlife habitats are a much better way of caring for animals. If we aren’t able to guarantee even the most basic rights for these beings, we have no right to appoint ourselves their caretakers and lock them up for our own entertainment.