Egyptian Central Zoos director agrees to use contraception to prevent perennial lion surplus
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 2010:
CAIRO–Egyptian Central Zoos director and Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species representative Nabil Sidki
announced on April 6, 2010 that Egyptian zoos will begin using birth
control drugs and surgical sterilization to prevent surplus lion
At least three zoos in Egypt, including the 120-year-old
Giza Zoo, have been criticized for decades for doing little to
curtail births of inbred lion cubs, some of whom are believed to be
illegally trafficked, while others contribute to severe overcrowding.
Frequently exposing conditions at the Giza Zoo since 1991,
former London Zoological Society fellow and Cairo resident Richard
Hoath in May 2009 noted in Egypt Today that the Giza Zoo lions are
still “kept in bare concrete cages, without any habitat or
behavioral enrichment,” even though the lion exhibit still includes
an extensive moated veldt that was meant to be the main lion habitat
when the zoo opened in 1891.
The keepers long ago routed most visitor traffic to the
original back side of the exhibit, where most of the lions are
confined in facilities built as night cages and feeding stations.
There the notoriously poorly paid keepers solicit tips from visitors
to arrange close-up photo and feeding opportunities.
“Rabbits could not keep up with the lions at Giza Zoo, yet
they breed more,” Hoath fumed.
Middle East Network for Animal Welfare wildlife panel
organizer Dina Zulfikar, who in 2008 helped the zoo bears to get air
conditioning that was promised 18 years earlier, in January 2010
took a busload of MENAW delegates to tour the zoo.
The MENAW delegates added their voices to the volume of
complaints, but the real turning point, Zulfikar told ANIMAL
PEOPLE, was the visit of a delegation from the African Association of
Zoos & Aquaria [PAAZAB] in early March 2010. PAAZAB is the African
member society within the World Association of Zoos & Aquariums.
WAZA expelled the Giza Zoo in 2004, Hoath wrote, “for,
amongst a catalogue of ills, unpaid fees and the poor conditions in
which the animals were kept.” A WAZA revisit after the expulsion
further criticized the Giza Zoo for keeping elephants on chains.
Sidki has made regaining PAAZAB and WAZA accreditation for
the Giza Zoo a personal priority.