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KABUL ZOO (AFGHANISTAN) UPDATES

Kabul Zoo updates

As a largest coalition of animal welfare organisations with particular expertise in Asia, we wish to support organisations working with Kabul Zoo in Afghanistan and to ensure that accurate information is available.  Please refer to this webpage for updates as the situation develops and direct any enquiries to afacoalition@gmail.com 

We are liaising with the organisations who work on the ground with this facility.
 

WHAT IS THE SITUATION AT KABUL ZOO?

update 29 September 2021

We have received reports and seen newspaper articles about zoo visitors throwing objects at Kabul Zoo’s lions. This is problematic and has potential to harm the zoo animals. However, our contacts, who have long worked with Kabul Zoo to improve conditions for the resident animals, have told us that the Zoo is aware of such behaviour on the part of some visitors; the lions spend many hours a day sleeping, and visitors want to get their attention, or see them move around. The problem is not new or unique to the current situation. 

Kabul has recently seen an influx of soldiers from rural areas who are unlikely to have ever seen most of the species at the Zoo. Gun-pointing and item throwing are manifestations of their excitement at seeing these animals, rather than malicious attempts to harm them. We have been reassured that there is a high fence separating the public from the lion compound, preventing large objects from passing through. The Zoo has cleared all stones from the area, and will do their best to be vigilant in the area. Some people could have been throwing  other bits of litter such as dead cigarette butts, paper wrappers, or bits of bark from the trees.  

 

Footage of people behaving inappropriately around zoo animals is always of great concern, and members of our network work directly with zoos across Asia and beyond to address such issues.

 

Our sources on the ground continue to assure us that for the animals at Kabul Zoo, it is business as usual and reports of malicious abuse are baseless.

 

Here are a selection of photos taken very recently:

update 9 September 2021

Our sources tell us that things remain calm, and not much has changed at the zoo. The animals continue to be cared for as usual.  

update 31st August 2021: 

We have had more confirmation from our contacts on the ground that whilst the situation on the ground is unstable the zoo is still in operation. There have been Taliban soldiers at the zoo, liaising with the staff and visiting the animals. As the zoo comes under Kabul Municipality the zoo will ultimately be the responsibility of the Taliban.
Currently the animals are still being fed and cared for as normal. 

There was a fire near by the zoo last week but the zoo was unaffected.
 

update 27th August 2021: 

Despite yesterday’s bombings at Kabul airport, we can confirm that the animals and staff are still unharmed and operating as usual. We will continue to update this page as we hear more.

update 26th August 2021: 

The zoo is still in operation, and  the staff continue to care for the animals the best they can under the circumstances. 

The zoo is currently not in any immediate danger. 

They have supplies of food and water and are in the process of acquiring further supplies.

ARE THERE CONCERNS ABOUT THE ANIMALS?

update 29th September 2021: 

Our contacts can confirm that the animals are still being cared for and the zoo is still in operation.​

update 31st August 2021: 

Our contacts on the ground cannot confirm with certainty what the future for Kabul Zoo will be. This is an ever-changing situation and so we are in discussions with various groups to see if a contingency plan can be formulated.  

We can confirm that no animals have been shot or have been shot at at the zoo.

update 27th August 2021: 

We have received enquiries about the conditions in which the animals are housed at Kabul Zoo. There are hundreds of zoos across Asia where animals are kept in poor conditions. Many organizations are working on the ground to improve the situation for these animals, working with local staff and stakeholders to raise awareness, and offering training to the facilities. The Mayhew have a good relationship with Kabul Zoo and in the past have facilitated training for vets and carried out complex surgeries for them. 

update 26th August 2021: 

Given that the situation in Afghanistan is unstable, there are concerns for the animals at Kabul Zoo. However, as of 26th August we can confirm that zoo staff are working as normal and the animals are safe.  

 
 

WHO IS WORKING ON THIS ISSUE?

update 26th August 2021: 

The Mayhew and the Zoological Society of London are in touch with Kabul Zoo.  

These organizations are not directly involved in the zoo’s activities, but are in direct contact with the zoo’s director.  The Asia for Animal Coalition’s 22 core member organisations are here to support these organisations and are monitoring the situation.

The zoo has confirmed that, although the situation is fluid and the future as yet uncertain, that the animals have food and water. 
 

STATEMENT from the Zoological Society of London 

update 26th August 2021: 

ZSL London Zoo, part of international conservation charity ZSL, is committed to providing support to Kabul Zoo. The two zoos have worked together over the years, with our teams sharing expert knowledge and experience. With the rapidly changing situation in Afghanistan, ZSL London Zoo’s team remain in contact with Kabul Zoo at this time and will continue to provide support and advice whenever and wherever possible. 

 

STATEMENT from The Mayhew

update 26th August 2021: 

Mayhew is a UK registered animal welfare charity,  working primarily with dogs and cats. Our work in Kabul with our branch, Mayhew Afghanistan, is delivery of a mass canine rabies vaccination programme and a TNR programme for the city’s free-roaming dog population. We do not have a shelter there. 

The safety of our staff is a priority at this time, but we are hoping to resume our operations if and when circumstances allow and it is safe to do so.  There will still be free-roaming dogs in Kabul and rabies will raise its ugly head again.

Mayhew’s relationship with Kabul Zoo started in 2002 when we were part of a group of NGOs that helped rebuild the zoo.  Dr Mohammadzai DVM, our Afghanistan Country Director, has facilitated connections for Kabul Zoo with ZSL London and also provided training for vets and carried out more complex surgeries for them. We have a warm relationship with the Zoo Director. 

 

WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP?

update 31st August 2021: 

There is much misinformation circulating the internet. Please refer to this page as a reliable source of information and rely on us to update as we hear more news.

update 27th August 2021: 

Getting money is currently difficult in Afghanistan. The banks are not operating and there are restrictions on the transfer of funds from western banks. We will update this page as we learn more about this situation.

update 26th August 2021: 

Share news only from trustworthy sources.

We are currently seeking advice on the best organisation to receive donations in support of Kabul Zoo. This will be updated as soon as we have more information.

 

ENQUIRIES

Please direct all enquiries to afacoalition@gmail.com to ensure that we can support the teams working on or in Afghanistan. The AfA coalition can act as a filter point to alleviate the pressure that these organisations are currently facing.