I see from a news report today Kabul Zoo officials are keen to restock their Zoo after severe damage over the last 20 years of conflict in Afghanistan. I wondered if staff and the facility are ready to take on the responsibility and safety and well being of new animals? Certainly for the troubled people of the country a well run and humane zoo would be a boost to confidence and education.
AFP reports Kabul zoo director, Aziz Gul Saqeb, who is leading a zoo team to India said “”Afghanistan wants an elephant, a leopard and a snow leopard from India because at present it does not have these animals.
Indian authorities have agreed to help us regarding the upkeep of the elephant once it is transported to Kabul,” he said after inspecting animals in a state-run zoo in the northern Indian town of Kanpur.
But is the Zoo ready to house new animals like a snow leopard? Sally Walker, a wildlife and zoo conservationist and founder of the Zoo Outreach Organisation recently visited Kabul Zoo and reported on her efforts and those of zoos in the west, USAID and Wildlife Conservation Society to help with education of local staff and rehabilitation of the zoo facilities. According to Sally’s report improvements have been made, so perhaps the time has come for a few new animals to be given a home there.
Importantly the Zoo is educating its visitors – adults and school kids alike, about animal treatment and conservation, as sadly there’s been a history of animal taunting in the past. With the support of other agencies in Asia and the rest of the world, it would be wonderful to see the benefits that a good zoo can bring to the people of a country. A professionally run zoo could improve conservation of Afghan wildlife as well. Snow leopards are highly endangered in Afghanistan’s snow leopard habitat and the zoo could play an active part in educating the youth of the country to help protect the cats.