People, Environment

Zoo of Wildlife Abuse

Zoo of Wildlife AbuseZoo of Wildlife Abuse

Severe mismanagement of a zoo in Shiraz and the negligence of the Far province’s Department of Environment in overseeing the poor living conditions of animals have turned the zoo into a horror show, according to a Shiraz-based animal rights activist.

Speaking to Mehr News Agency, Pourya Saraei, said, “The animals are left to their own devices. The state of hygiene is abysmal, there is an overwhelming stench in the air, the cages are substandard and worst of all the animals are starved.”

Spread over 20 hectares and home to numerous species, the zoo is considered one of the largest in the country.

“They have turned what should be a pleasant experience for people into a horror show, thanks to the mistreatment of the animals,” Saraei said.

The activist noted that the animals are kept in small cages and not fed well.

“You have famished wolves that grapple over leftover watermelon rinds, wild cats and foxes that are too depressed to even look at food, eagles that attack one another for crumbs and jackals that are kept in cages adjacent to dogs and are terrified every time the dogs bark,” he said.

A toxic combination of poor hygiene and lack of sustenance has weakened the animals and taken a toll on their health.

Saraei said a rare black bear has an infected, fragmented tongue, wounded neck and no teeth.

“The bear cannot even eat honey wax. It is heartrending,” he said.

He stressed that while zoos are supposed to house wildlife, the zoo has taken in stray cats and dogs, which belong in shelters, and squeezed them into dirty, stuffy cages.

To make matters worse, over 80% of the zoo’s land are unused, meaning hundreds of animals are confined to only 4 hectares.

“There is so much unused space, yet the animals are forced to spend their days in cramped quarters. Authorities must act immediately to put an end to the inhumane treatment of these defenseless creatures,” Saraei said.