Plant and Animals Welfare Society (PAWS-Mumbai), a non-government organisation, has demanded that the civic body-run Byculla zoo should be shut down as the wild animals kept in captivity are in pathetic condition.
Following complaints received from citizens, a team from PAWS-Mumbai, visited the Veermata Jijabai Bhonsle Udyan, also known as Byculla zoo or Rani Baug on October 29. The team found animals living in pathetic condition.
Not a single enclosure had water, they said, and the trees, too, had not been watered. Most of the zoo staff was not qualified. Most of the enclosures were empty and animals were put in small enclosures without any natural habitat. Though the zoo authority does not allow plastic bottles inside the zoo premises, plastic waste, gutka pouches and cold drink bottle caps were seen lying everywhere, even inside the enclosures.
PAWS demanded that the zoo be shut down until the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) provides proper basic amenities like water, health care and a natural habitat for animals.
“What is surprising is that injured and sick animals have been put up for display,” said Sunish Subramanian from PAWS. Aseem Gupta, additional municipal commissioner, was not available for comment.
The zoo authority refuted all allegations. “It is not possible for animals to live without water,” said a senior official from zoo on condition of anonymity.
He added that the enclosures were old and that the civic body had planned a zoo makeover, which was in progress.