The current conditions of the Dehiwala Zoo is clearly something no one should even tolerate. Confining animals to an enclosed place throughout their whole life, just for the sake of entertainment cannot be justified under any circumstances. However due to the large crowds that keep coming to the Zoo, which in turn provides some revenue to the authorities, the relevant officials seem to ignore the fact that these animals are kept in dire conditions.
Reason for alternate Proposition Letting animals be free in their natural habitat is the best solution, however whether their natural habitat will remain is the question. In addition shutting down the Zoo is a big change which might be received with resistance.
What is proposed?
The current area which is used for the Zoo to be converted into a sanctuary for birds, and fish (minmedura) can be kept as it is. This way, authorities who spent the large sum of money which was used in building the fish tanks will not object too much. In addition, conversion of the area into a bird sanctuary (this by no means proposes birds to be kept in cages), will preserve this area which will be inserted with large trees, and will attract the birds that are being ‘chased’ away due to rapid development in the area, as well as migratory birds (Attidiya area used to be well known for migratory birds). As for the remaining animals, the proposition is to acquire a large land area and be re-located there, where humans can visit for educational/observational purposes. This would mitigate the general opposition from some people who still don`t want to see the zoo from getting shut down. This plan would also ensure that this new large area of land will remain undisturbed for the animals with its natural fauna and flora.
Conversion of current Zoo into a sanctuary for birds/fish
Government Point of View- The area remains with the government, revenue will remain with GOSL Public POV – No major change, the ‘zoo’ will remain, although it will be more of a forest area with natural birds where everyone can come and walk around. Environmentalists POV- The area (where the zoo is currently located) will be preserved for nature (guaranteed) and will not be used for any other developmental projects. Animals in the nature park (in newly acquired land) will not be targeted by those who kill animals for sport.
(Relocating the remaining animals to a larger area (which would be another animal sanctuary, not like Yala)
Government Point of View- New area which remains with the government, additional revenue and good for image. Public POV – additional ‘zoo’ where animals can be observed in their natural free state Environmentalists POV- Another area (newly acquired land) will be preserved for nature (guaranteed) and will not be used for any other developmental projects. Animals in the nature park will not be targeted by those who kill animals for sport.
Note: I just jotted this down based on basic knowledge, I didn`t do in-depth research into actual revenue of Dehiwala Zoo. Further, I haven`t been to the Zoo in two decades since I don`t want to get depressed seeing the plight of the animals.
Send by Madushani Kannangara