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The Financial Express

Pros and cons of zoo visits

| Updated: November 08, 2020 22:07:52


Pros and cons of zoo visits

Children around the world irrespective of nationalities and social classes are found to be fond of animals at zoos. Whenever an opportunity arrives, they keep pestering their parents to take them to the zoo. Amazingly, the parents, especially the mothers, need not feel badgered before they agree to take their boys and girls to the zoos close to their neighbourhoods. As has been observed by the zoologists, it is the child which lives in the subconscious of the adults which mainly takes the latter to the zoo. Recently, a section of psychologists have said being in proximity with wild animals at zoos keeps people relieved of mental stress. The discovery is not conclusive. But a lot of people have started saying they have begun feeling good since they increased their visits to the zoo.

The national zoo at Mirpur in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, has reopened a few days back after remaining closed for over seven months. The closure of one of the most popular tourist attractions in Dhaka was prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Situated at Mirpur near the Botanical Garden in western Dhaka, the animal enclosure is now a fully-fledged zoo, formally known as the Bangladesh National Zoo. It is the largest in the country. It opened on June 23, 1974. Covering a large area, the zoo is run by a team comprising trained staff. It opened with a few common native wild animals. The zoo at present also accommodates different species of non-native animals and birds.

Befitting the curiosity and interest of the child and teenage visitors, the most crowd-pulling of the animal cages include those having tigers, lions, giraffes, zebras --- and, of course, monkeys. Apart from the city-dwellers, a lot of zoo visitors come from the remote villages of the country. They include a considerable number ofwomen and girls, and also middle-aged people. Due to the venue being located in aspaciousarea, the fear of the spread of the corona virus among the visitors has been termedminimal.But those who throng certain 'popular' animal cages risk contracting the virus. Almost all tourist spots suffer from this panicky situation. It is exclusively the zoo authorities which can cope with the reckless behaviour on the part of the zoo-goers. The easiest yet effective step they can take is deploying volunteers asking people to maintain physical distance. The measure is being enforced in all zoos around the world. It has yet to be known if common wild animals can transmit the Covid-19 virus like bird flu-carrying fowls. But zoos keep non-native wild animals too. Their potential for having the capability to harbour risk-laden viruses is yet to be disproved.

A countless number of general people including children and grown-up ones visit the country's zoos every day. Due to their opening after the long shutdown, rush of recreation-seeking people to those places is nothing unusual. But they ought to keep in mind the need for remaining prepared to fend off the pandemic scourge. The truth is they do not care a fig about maintaining precautionary measures aimed at remaining safe.

Notwithstanding many people's obsessive habit to visit zoos to watch the caged animals, some remaining reflective about their condition, animal lovers take a different stance. In their eyes, zoos are the metonymy for animal persecution. They go on fighting for animal rights. It is true animals feel persecuted while they are made to remain constantly under public gaze. Whether ethics permits humans to consign the freely roaming animals to iron-cages and see them pine away has long been a subject of heated debate.

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