Serious concerns have been expressed about the welfare of the giraffes that have been recently acquired by the zoo. Environmentally speaking these magnificent animals are destined to a “dreary, sedentary existence” coupled with “artificial dietary substitutes” for sustenance, evidenced by the lack of space at the Emperor Valley Zoo and the non-existence of most of the vegetation they thrive on which include Acacia and Mimosa trees.
On my last visit to the zoo a couple years ago, I was appalled at the conditions most animals had to endure for our pleasure. Most apparent were the hot concrete floors of the cages for the monkeys that had to cling to the wire fences of their cages because the heat was too much for their paws, and this is only one of the many examples I can cite. And now housing for the tigers will be a 260 feet by 40 feet enclosure which the zookeepers proudly claim to be the largest in the facility.
Is this something we should be proud of?
The accommodation needed for big animals to survive in as natural an environment as possible should not be limited to cages. In the zookeepers’ infinite wisdom of containment, the animals suffer simply due to lack of land space.
This brings to mind the proposal made by Sou Sou Lands to the Government whereby 40 acres of land were being offered for the expansion of the zoo for large animals in the Chickland region of central Trinidad.
This is an option, with an abundance of natural vegetation, many rivers and streams and an undulating topography, which would be a pleasant habitat for any animal. Yet our learned friends continue to ignore that which can bring fundamental benefits and productive results not only to the large animals but to the people in an area otherwise neglected and left to non-governmental agencies to develop.
Why was the Sou Sou Lands offer not accepted?
Ann Marie Sankersingh