Improve zoological gardens

Dear Editor
Abject negligence, total incompetency, lack of proper technical knowledge, experience, funding and infrastructure for housing, holding or treating animals under quarantine and/or veterinary treatments as well as shortage of properly qualified and trained staff member in handling local, exotic and endemic animal species is the hallmark of most zoological gardens across the developing countries in both hemispheres. Most of these zoo authorities are exceptionally good for shelving their responsibilities and incompetency; and most have well documented history of repeated failures in their poor management of animal health, housing and captive breeding. Some even have serious security lapses that resulted in the death of visitors and animals. Numerous rare animals intercepted, saved and rescued from wildlife trafficking by the customs department and security agencies are also handed over to these incompetent institutes for quarantine and rehabilitation. But few in the public get to know the true statistics of the high death rate of such unfortunate recovered animals.
By traveling long distances under unacceptable conditions they are susceptible to injuries, infections and diseases. But a significant number of such helpless animals experienced traumatic deaths in the so called protected zoological gardens due to utter failure of a system whose backbone has been destroyed over decades through poor management, suspicious political recruitments, hiring incompetent individuals with very little or no knowledge and experience in working with zoo animals and even without any credibility or accountability. The zoo staff members under the grand protection of various party unions are extremely efficient in relentless strikes and protests for their demands; but not at all responsible in taking proper care of the helpless animals.
Very little serious animal research is conducted in these zoos on animal management, breeding, behaviour or ecology. It is quite unfortunate and shameful that zoological gardens across developing and under developed nations are in deplorable conditions with high mortality rates. If such caged sanctuaries are created to protect and preserve rare animals for education as well as entertainment of the public, one could well estimate what could be the situation of unfortunate animal survivors left their own fate to die or survive under most unacceptable and unhygienic conditions.
Saikat Kumar Basu,