Leopard in flooded cage worries animal welfare body

June 20th, 2008 - 2:35 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 20 (IANS) A picture of a leopard clinging for dear life after floodwater entered his cage at Jharkhand’s Jamshedpur Zoological Park has angered People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), who have demanded a disaster management plan for zoos across India. In a letter sent Thursday to central government’s Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta, PETA’s chief functionary Anuradha Sawhney said: “We request you to immediately set up an expert committee to ensure that there is a disaster management plans in zoos across the country.”

Highlighting the impact of natural calamities on animals housed in various zoos in the country, she said a plan of action to deal with such contingencies should be formulated and periodically updated.

Jamshedpur was flooded after rains lashed the city for 48 hours and has inundated the zoo in the steel city, threatening the lives of animals, she added.

“These incidents have left many concerned animal guardians wondering how to protect their animals,” she said.

She said reports have come that the Jamshedpur authorities are searching for its two crocodiles and as many alligators who had come out of their enclosure due to the flood water.

“We are sure you will agree such situations pose a risk to both humans as well as animals and it is best to make arrangements well in time to ensure animals’ safety in the event of an emergency.

“For the safety of animals and people, the government agencies need to have plans in place that include safeguarding animals in zoos during natural disasters,” she said.

“India often faces natural calamities like floods, cyclones and drought,” she said in her letter which is also addressed to B.R. Sharma, Central Zoo Authority member secretary, and A.K. Singh, principal chief of conservator of forests, Jharkhand.

She said at times, the same area is subjected to floods and drought situations in successive seasons or years.

“While not all natural calamities can be predicted and prevented, a state of preparedness and ability to respond quickly to a natural calamity can considerably mitigate loss of life and suffering of animals.

“It is of paramount importance that a plan of action for dealing with contingencies that arise in the wake of natural calamities are formulated and periodically updated,” she said.

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