People, Environment

Shiraz Zoo Standards an Eyesore

Shiraz Zoo Standards an EyesoreShiraz Zoo Standards an Eyesore

Video footage and photos of wild animals in a zoo in Shiraz, Fars Province, that are subjected to severe mismanagement and poor living conditions, have been making the rounds on the social media, riling up people and highlighting the deplorable conditions of the helpless animals.

“The zoo has repeatedly received warnings from the Shiraz office of the Department of Environment to address the problems, but the management has failed to respond,” said Hamzeh Valavi, head of the Shiraz DOE, told ILNA.

The animals are left to their own fate: the state of hygiene is abysmal; there is an overwhelming stench in the air; the cages are not standard; and worst of all the animals are starved. These are observations of a Shiraz-based animal rights activist, Pourya Saraei, who last year blasted the zoo officials, saying: “They have turned what should be a pleasant experience for people into a horror show, thanks to the mistreatment of the animals.”

A dangerous combination of poor hygiene and lack of sustenance has weakened the animals, endangering their lives.

The zoo is home to between 200 and 300 animals who are confined to only 4 hectares of land—approximately 20% of the zoo’s area. In other words, a whopping 80% of the zoo’s land is unused.

“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.

Although things “have improved slightly,” the animals are still suffering from bad living conditions, Valavi noted.

People have called for the zoo’s closure, but that is easier said than done.

“Most of the zoo animals are not native to Iran, so they cannot be released into the wild,” Valavi said, adding that if there were other zoos equipped to house the animals, “it would allow us to exert more pressure on the zoo (in Shiraz) to meet standards.”

Despite receiving financial support, the zoo’s top brass have not effectively tackled the problems plaguing the zoo.

A rare type of brown bear and different species of monkeys, snakes and wolves are among the menagerie.