Following up on the story of the Lions in Giza Zoo.... see HERE if you did not read it. The latest take on the problem of the number animals is slightly different. For a start there is absolutely no mention made of Barbary Lions.
The article states several points which interest me :
It makes mention of contraceptive injections but not implants. I can see where the injection may go wrong but a properly placed implant would be 100% effective.
“They can’t exercise everyday and so they are more aggressive with each other.” That is definitely a problem.
"The positive aspect is that it’s known that wild animals in the zoo or captivity do not reproduce a lot,” Mr Sidqy said. “The fact that they reproduce indicates that their physical and psychological states are good and that they are afforded good living conditions
There appears to be a bit of a contradiction at play here. The article states that the living conditions are inadequate but then Mr Sidqy says they are. You cannot have both.....and to be frank lions WILL breed in hopelessly inadequate conditions.
Since Egyptian law prohibits zookeepers from euthanising excess animals – a practice common in other zoos throughout the world - Why? Do Egyptian vets not euthanase Dogs? Cats? Injured Donkeys? Do the slaughterhouses not slaughter? Pigeons and chickens are killed by people all over Cairo every day. What makes it prohibitive for zoos to kindly, humanely, stress free, sensibly, professionaly and gently euthanase? Euthanasia does not hurt. It is and should be a realistic option in all zoos.
The other option which is open to them...though I cannot suggest a suitable location but it is to DONATE their surplus. Forget about selling. Give the lions away to a collection which can offer better facilities. They will immediately save money by not having the extra mouths to feed.
Lions give Giza zoo growing problems
For some here, daily life remains a trying ordeal.
A sudden population boom has led to overcrowding and soaring inflation rates have resulted in spiralling costs for meat, which constitutes the bulk of the local diet. But even in the face of such difficulties, the problems of the lion population at the Giza Zoo are about to go from bad to worse. Next month, zoo officials will begin castrating male lions in a final effort to control the animals’ rising numbers.
Both the Giza and Alexandria zoos host 42 lions each, while zoos in Beni Suef, Fayoum and El Arish hold an additional 18 lions, all of which have become a drain on the zoo authorities’ limited resources.
“In any zoo, it’s enough for any kind of animal to be represented. By that we mean a family of lions, a male and a female and maybe two cubs, for example,” said Nabil Sidqy, the director of Egypt’s zoo system. “More than that is an overload on the resources of the zoo. They eat meat, and you know that meat is expensive.”
Indeed, both Egyptian lions and their human friends – of whom 4.5 million visit the Giza Zoo alone each year – suffer from sky-high annual food inflation of about 20 per cent. The cost of meat reached 75 Egyptian pounds (Dh49) per kilogram last month, prompting calls for a boycott.
According to a report published this month by Egypt’s Information and Decision Support Centre, meat consumption among humans fell by 21 per cent between February and April of this year.
But unlike its people, Egypt’s lions rarely go without. Each one gets a daily portion of about 7kg of meat. Combined with veterinary treatment, that costs the zoo about 20,000 pounds each year for every lion in its care.
Compare that with, for example, Egyptian’s entry level salaries: new school teachers can earn as little as 6,000 pounds per year.
Given their shared fates, some have wondered aloud whether both humans and lions could benefit each other by joining forces.
“According to a popular saying, whoever lived with a people for 40 days will become one of them,” wrote Ahmed Ragab, a noted Egyptian humorist, in Al Akhbar newspaper last month. “Nevertheless, I think that the government can make use of the large number of lions. They can take some lions and tie them on the staircase of the journalists’ syndicate to frighten the anti-government protesters there.”
The lions were not always such a drain. Fifteen years ago, the Giza Zoo had only 25 or 30 of the beasts, Mr Sidqy said. As their numbers expanded, officials tried various methods to control the population.
Zookeepers first separated the lions by gender to prevent them from mating. But since the zoo only has 27 separate enclosures, some of which are reserved for the particularly aggressive male lions, the gender separation added further stress to an already untenable population crunch.
“The spaces have become narrower so their normal behaviour changes,” said Abdel Wahab, a zoo vet. “They can’t exercise everyday and so they are more aggressive with each other.”
Despite such measures, the circle of life continued for the captive cats. Giza’s lions are still producing young cubs.
“The positive aspect is that it’s known that wild animals in the zoo or captivity do not reproduce a lot,” Mr Sidqy said. “The fact that they reproduce indicates that their physical and psychological states are good and that they are afforded good living conditions.”
When the gender separation strategy failed, zoo officials searched for other options. Lions are not an endangered species, so demand for them in other zoos and parks throughout the world is low. Mr Sidqy said the zoo can sell or transfer only about three lions each year – far less than their rate of reproduction.
Since Egyptian law prohibits zookeepers from euthanising excess animals – a practice common in other zoos throughout the world – Mr Sidqy and his team decided to experiment with contraceptive injections.
But the injections reduced the reproduction rate by only 20 per cent, Mr Sidqy said, rendering the experiment a failure. With all the other options exhausted, zoo staff are now obliged to put their lions under the knife.
“This didn’t happen before because there was a hope that the other methods would succeed,” Mr Sidqy said. “A castrated lion cannot be sold and we had hoped to sell so
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