Dhaka Zoo not in safe hands: Committee

Get those who know animals and their food habits to run the Dhaka Zoo is the advice given by the parliamentary committee of the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock.

Sajidul Haquebdnews24.com
Published : 25 August 2013, 06:17 AM
Updated : 25 August 2013, 10:58 AM

Or else the Dhaka Zoo will suffer much, they said in a report.

At the moment, the zoo is being run by those who lack knowledge of food for animals, with the result that poor quality of food is being supplied to them, the committee observed.

A sub-committee was formed on Feb 17 to probe the irregularities plaguing the zoo which submitted its report to the panel on Thursday.

The zoo authorities do not maintain a chart on food fed to animals and its quantity does not meet global standards, the report said.

bdnews24.com has a copy of the report.

Moreover, the zoo does not have equipment to check the quantity of formalin in the food supplied to animals.

Formalin is extremely hazardous preservative that can damage the animals.

The report quotes Deputy Curator of the zoo Masudul Hasan as saying that the animals are given inadequate food.

Asked why, the sub-committee convenor Zafar Iqbal Siddique said the animals brought from abroad are supplied with food based on their ‘purchase time age’, meaning what was applicable when they animals were brought.

“But the animals need additional food and nutrition with age and that is being ignored,” he told bdnews24.com.

However, zoo Curator Enayet Hossain has brushed off the allegations saying they supply adequate food to the animals.

“We have the chart [on supplying foods],” he claimed adding they would be able to provide details once they got the panel’s report.

Jatiya Party MP Siddique said they have sought the ministry’s response within a week based on the report.

The probe report said it found most of the zoo officials ‘ignorant’ about their duties and responsibilities which, it pointed out, was hampering the zoo’s overall development.

The zoo’s management and administrative structure were getting weaker, it said.
Professor Gazi Syed Asmat of the Department of Zoology at Chittagong University said it was a ‘matter of regret’ that those responsible for the animals did not have knowledge about what to feed them.
“Animals in the Dhaka Zoo mainly die of malnutrition,” he told bdnews24.com.
“These incidents (deaths) will continue unless they are supplied food that goes with their age and weather,” Asmat said.

The parliamentary panel has recommended developing ‘affiliations’ with other leading zoos in the world so that officials responsible for the animals can be trained and can acquire proper knowledge about the animals’ feeding habits, choosing food and its quantity.

It also advocated appointment of experienced zoologists at the national zoo and for a strict biosecurity policy there.

The committee has recommended freeing the zoo from ‘political influences’ which prevented officials from discharging their duties properly.

It said the move was necessary for the sake of the zoo’s overall development and building up a corruption-free administrative system.

MP Siddique said the parliamentary panel has given necessary directives to the concerned officials.

Other measures such as removing all illegal establishments on both sides of the street from the Sony Cinema Hall to the zoo were also recommended.

“Now all the ministry has to do is implement the recommendations,” he said.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher