Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hippos at Byculla Zoo

The hippos are housed next door to Shiva the rhino. We had visited the Zoo on a very hot afternoon and the hippos can be seen lying as low as they possible can in their pool. Like Shiva's, it is also made of concrete with absolutely no protection from the sun and with a completely inadequate supply of water - their plump sides can be seen protuding above the surface of the water. In this pool also, the water at that time of day, must be hot. This is pure torture for these 'water' creatures, who in the wild, spend most of their time fully immersed in cool, deep river or lake water, a condition that is most suitable for their heavy bodies and their most sensitive skin.

When they emerge from this pool, they enter their enclosure that is as barren and dreary as Shiva's. This is the main problem with Zoos. The animal is presented to the public in such a manner, that no one derives any benefit from the viewing. What would kids learn looking at animals kept in such pathetic conditions? It's as if these poor creatures have committed some sort of crime and have now been condemned to life imprisonment.
Most of the other animal enclosures we visited were as bad or worse than these. The Zoo is being re-vamped at a cost of hundreds of crores of rupees. Let's hope authorities start the re-vamping process NOW and change the lives of these suffering animals for the better.

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