Thanks to Sally Walker of Zoo Outreach Organisation who has a close association with Kabul Zoo for sending this email to “Saving Snow Leopard” Blog about the AFP (Agence France Presse) article on the director of the Zoo, Aziz Gul Saqeb’s trip to India to get animals for the zoo, including a snow leopard. We posted the AFP article a few days ago but Sally maintains the report was incorrect. It’s good to hear that Kabul Zoo staff are keen to make proper improvements before they take on animals there.
Sally writes – ”Aziz and his colleagues were invited to India and Nepal only for the purpose of training which they participated in Nepal and then for a tour (again for purpose of training) of good zoos nearby Delhi. I praise all efforts of the staff of the Kabul Zoo, the Kabul Municipality of Kabul for their very hard work and also the North Carolina Zoo and its many partners for raising funds to start the restoration of Kabul Zoo after its virtual destruction by war. Aziz did not state they had come to collect animals, that was a presumption of the AFP reporter.
“So far as I know the administration and staff of the Kabul zoo are working hard to bring it up to a standard that would permit them to interact with zoos in the rest of the world as equals and thereby participate in some conservation activities (already they are immersed in conservation education as I described in the article), then, perhaps including obtaining other animals. I’d like to clarify, however, that zoos today (good zoos, at least) are very careful about obtaining from or sparing animals to other zoos. The organized zoo community (the good zoos) has thus far been very helpful to Kabul Zoo with funds to rebuild and for training. Aziz, himself, protested the claim stating (and this is a real quote from the man) “we are not ready!”
“The Kabul Zoo staff is, however, in a whirlwind of activity to rebuild the zoo as a better zoo than ever. In its day, the Kabul Zoo was of international standard as a joint project of the Kabul University, some external professors and Kabulians. Time and particularly the war took its tool on the zoo but and it is now on a very positive course of action to restore itself even better than before and join the global zoo community as a conservation partner. The five persons who came (Aziz, Director, Amadhi, Advisor to Mayor of Kabul, Rohella, Director of Culture, Najib, Education Officer and Abdul, Veterinary Officer) are all very keen to have a zoo that all the zoos and NGOs who have assisted them will also be proud of… that is their priority before they bring any animals.”