Monday, May 30, 2016

Killing of Zoo Animals - Protection or Crime ?

Two incidents of zoos which killed animals to protect intruders is disturbing.  For different reasons :  one, why are the animals killed when the intruders are at fault and two, who is primary in a zoo ?

The reasons these questions need to be asked are in light of the following.  First, a wild animal being brought to the zoo and kept there for public display - the idea itself is wrong.  Why do we have a zoo except in cases where protection of the animal/species is at stake.  

Second, given that intruders are human beings does not change who has the first right in a zoo.  The right place of animals is the forest, which we eat up by the minute in the name of advancement.  

Third, a visit to the zoo is sickening many a time.  The size of the cages, the stink because of poor upkeep, the minimal area demarcated to each animal, and more agonizing is the way human beings treat the animals.  The squeaks, calls besides throwing food and calling names.  The above reasons call for removing zoos except for keeping old animals that attack human beings in conflict areas, abandoned animals and endangered species that require protection for survival.

Umpteen are the cases where animals are caught to be taken to a zoo.  There are cases of elephants being caught to be trained to be kumkis and where the court has accepted the same.  Using abandoned calves is one thing, but catching grown elephants from the wild and training them to be kumkis is nothing less than traumatic.  Ask any wildlife expert on behaviour of elephants and they would substantiate.

I, personally, side with the animals and their right to atleast live in the confines of a man-made prison into which they are thrown.  Read the below links and it will make you wonder, whether we, mankind are on the right path when it comes to animal rights.

Human beings who try to proselytize a lion needs no mercy.  It is the lions who need help.  Is it not enough that we wage wars in the name of religion ??  Is it not enough that we brew hatred among ourselves trying to convert one to another religion ? Do we need to convert and teach the same stupidity to the rest of the animal kingdom too ?

A drunk man who climbs to a lion enclosure and tells the lioness Radhika, “Please come to me my darling. Please.” can only invite Krishna, her husband's wrath.  

A suicidal man caused the death of two lions who were just being lions.  Feel bad for the man's condition, but the lions did not have a clue, did they ?

And yesterday, the case of Harambe, a 17 year old handsome gorilla because a mom did not bother to watch her kid carefully.

Do we have the right to kill or should we leave it to nature to battle it out in such cases ?

What is even more painful is the words of the Zoo Director and the statement of the family as quoted in the news.

Zoo :
Cincinnati Zoo director Thane Maynard said: “The choice was made to put down, or shoot, Harambe, so he’s gone.
“We’ve never had a situation like this at the Cincinnati Zoo where a dangerous animal needed to be dispatched in an emergency situation.”
-> dispatched - it is not a product that your ordered/bought on an e-com site.
Family :
"We are so thankful to the Lord that our child is safe. He is home and doing just fine. We extend our heartfelt thanks for the quick action by the Cincinnati Zoo staff. We know that this was a very difficult decision for them, and that they are grieving the loss of their gorilla. We hope that you will respect our privacy at this time."
The family is granting no interviews, and this is the only statement that will be issued. Thank you."

-> the gorilla is theirs, as is the loss but I want my privacy.  Does not matter to them, I guess.

I am reminded of the laws in the Eravikulam National Park, Munnar, India where the Nilgiri Tahr is supreme - a park we visited in 2002.  The park spans across hectares of wild where the Nilgiri Tahr can be seen in its own home.  One is constantly reminded not to touch the animal or move out of the road nor pick a stone or leaf.  It is an offence that is punishable.  Further, you are told that the animal can touch you but you cannot touch them.  The park has made a name in the area of conservation by enforcing strictly the above rules - there is a story of an officer who arrested/fined a set of students who broke the rules despite repeated warnings.  The Tahr which number a few hundred was brought back from extinction to a healthy population of 10,000 today.  One can only hope that the rules are followed in letter and spirit not just in Eravikulam but the world over to ensure wildlife protection.  It is not their survival that is at stake, but our own.     

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