Reflections on animal zoo plan

THE spokesman of Jeddah Municipality broke to us the good news that next year residents of this Red Sea coastal city will have an animal zoo that meets international standards on the southern Corniche.

Reflections on animal zoo plan

 


Hamoud Abu Talib

Okaz

 


 


THE spokesman of Jeddah Municipality broke to us the good news that next year residents of this Red Sea coastal city will have an animal zoo that meets international standards on the southern Corniche.



This means that the residents are in for a great surprise. They will finally have a zoo after a seven-year hiatus following the closure of the Beautiful Animals zoo in the Al-Safa District in north Jeddah.



The zoo was closed down after disputes between its owner and the municipality over claims that its location had become a source of pollution and bad odors for residents of that neighborhood.



Mind you, the new international zoo will probably not open next year. It is just that the door will be open next year for investors to submit their offers.



Of course you are well aware of the scenario of government tenders. The zoo is nothing more than an idea on paper and will remain there for a long time.



The animals will remain at large in the wilderness. In principle, we welcome the idea of the entertainment that will be brought to us by the zoo.



Jeddah, with its cosmopolitan characteristics and aesthetic kaleidoscope, lacks the simplest of entertainment means and tourist attractions that are found in foreign cities not as big or as important as our city.



The animal zoos have become significant features for a large number of cities and are replete with visitors throughout the year.



While hoping to have an animal zoo in Jeddah that is not inferior to the ones in the other cities of the world, we do have suspicions about its establishment.



Our past experiences with some investors who were to execute a large number of projects are not good or encouraging.



Many of the investors have not honored their commitments and have tampered with the specifications and standards. We have fears that the new zoo may face the same fate.



Just imagine if we asked the investors to bring the animals from their natural habitats and made it imperative on them that the animals should be in good health.



I have no doubt that the investor will subcontract the project and the end result will be that we will have an old lion, a retiring elephant, a sick giraffe, a limping zebra, a blind tiger and a rhino without a horn.



The animals will not be good but this is no matter for the investor as long as he can save some money by subcontracting the project.



We come now to the animal feeding. The food supplier will make the animals eat the worst and most unhygienic types of foods.



Ultimately, instead of being their new home, the zoo will be their cemetery where they will be buried forever.



We will also have a number of logistical and organizational problems caused by the specialty of our society, which does not permit gender mixing in the zoos or elsewhere.



This may cause psychological depression to the physically impaired animals, which are not used to this kind of society.



The ultimate result will be that the zoo project will become a total failure. However, we will wait to see if the project will ever see the light or not.



I have a question for the municipality — does the project have to be located on the Corniche? Do we not have enough desert space in which we can accommodate the animals to keep our seashores clean?