Caged Realities: Zoos in Bangladesh and their mistreatment of animals
Photo Courtesy: Dhaka Tribune
We treat the animals in our zoos the same way we treat the students in our schools. Both institutions were established for the purpose of education. But none of them actually accomplished that goal but rather make the lives of their inhabitants miserable.
We lock our students and zoo animals up in a cage without their consent. We make them participate in socially acceptable tasks because it will appease society. In the process, we forget how their cruel treatment altogether.
The space problem
The Dhaka national zoo resides over 186 acres of land. Which is not a small space. But no space will ever be big enough if you exceed the carrying capacity of that place. We find 26 alligators caged in a reservoir that was meant for 8. You’ll notice the same tragedy if you look inside the deer cage. Or the cage in which the elephants are. It’s the same everywhere.
Thanks to the lack of proper funding and attention, most of the zoos in our country, including the biggest zoo that is situated in Mirpur, Dhaka, has not seen a renovation in years.
Even though the designs of the zoos were made decades ago and remains unchanged, the number of animals in the zoos keep increasing.
Due to lack of adequate space for the animals to sustain, the overall conditions inside the zoos of our country has become very unhygienic. There aren’t enough people employed to look after the animals and the ones that are employed don’t have adequate training to take care of them.
That’s not all. There is also no littering policy in place that is strictly maintained. So, when visitors come, they end up throwing things here and there and even end up throwing things at the animals.
Read more: Dhaka: A city on the edge
Safety of animals
Most animals within the zoos are not taken care of properly. But, sadly, not being taken care of isn’t the worst thing that happens to them.
The animals face cruel treatment from the zookeepers. Due to having inexperienced people in charge of taking care of the animals, most of the times they don’t understand the gestures made by animals or are able to identify the reason for their discomfort. Result? they end up ignoring the helpless cries of the animals and display cruelty out of ignorance.
Lack of awareness from the people
Despite all these, neither the zoos nor the government is the biggest culprit for this failure. This is because, despite the way in which the authorities treat the animals, zoos in our country get thousands of visitors every day.
According to an article by The Daily Star, the Mirpur Zoo still gets over 30lakh visitors a year. This is a clear indication of our ignorance as humans and our failure as a nation to stand up against the mistreatment of animals who spend all their lives in captivity.
Its time that we as a nation start acting as we care instead of just sharing a cute dog photo of “bideshi” dogs and start showing through our actions that we care about our animals in captivity, like Raj, The Royal Bengal Tiger and proud father of a white tiger cub. That is probably the only way to make our Government care about these animals too.
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