A lion should always be in its exclusive domain – Editorials

EDITORIAL: When you release a bird from the cage, it doesn’t say “thank you”; it just flies away. The bird’s cage was a prison where she was forcibly kept, and since no human would want to be in a prison, the birds also want their freedom. And this is the case with all wild animals. In the company of humans, they symbolize ecological stability. This planet Earth is as much their real estate as it is that of humans. But unfortunately this is no longer the case.

Humans have captured them, put them behind bars called zoos, and derive pleasure from their presence in cages. And when zoo cages are overcrowded, some animals are put up for auction. On August 10, World Lion Day, Lahore Zoo authorities had planned to put up to 12 lions up for sale to “save space” and meet the zoo’s growing expenses. But later the zoo management shelved the project because these lions were to be purchased by private zoo keepers where they believed the animals were not getting fair treatment.

Otherwise, there is no law prohibiting the possession of an imported wild animal. It is no longer a concern of government authorities that animals are in prison; his only concern is that the wild animals owned by individuals are living in poor conditions. Of Pakistan’s 14 zoos, four are privately owned. Since keeping lions or tigers at home is a status symbol, selling/buying animals is a thriving business in today’s Pakistan.

Love for wildlife and respect for its freedom in Pakistan is diminishing day by day. What about letting wildlife thrive in their own environments, they are fiercely hunted, imprisoned and even sold to foreign animal hunters. The annual auction of bustards and visiting mountain goats is part of the government’s efforts to earn foreign exchange, needed to import luxury items and delicious chocolates.

All of this must stop. It is heartening to note that the relevant authorities are considering imposing a ban on the keeping of wild animals in private. “We are also planning to distribute the wild animals to suitable countries for their rehabilitation,” said the head of Pakistan’s Prime Minister of Strategic Reforms, Salman Sufi. But it is only a small step towards guaranteeing a peaceful existence for wildlife already threatened with extinction.

Let Pakistan take the giant step towards securing the existence of wildlife by closing zoos and letting their inhabitants move to game reserves and wildlife sanctuaries. It would be more fun to see the lion in his exclusive domain than in someone’s cage or prison.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022