THE EDITOR: The animal-loving people of TT were horrified and incensed to learn that a newly acquired kangaroo at the Emperor Valley Zoo suffered and eventually died. The cause of death, according to zoo officials, was a result of trauma suffered from the pounding explosions and daylight inducing bursts of brightness at the Independence fireworks at the Savannah grounds adjacent to the zoo.
This latest incident, however, is not the first time that animals have suffered as a result of fireworks. Every year, be it Old Year’s Eve, Independence or other celebrations, animals suffer tremendously from the explosive sounds and lights caused by fireworks.
Research has shown that dogs, cats and other domestic animals, as well as wild animals, are often killed as a result of these pervasive displays of noise and lights. When the fireworks begin, to escape the noise and bright lights, animals run into the streets into oncoming traffic. Some of these dogs and cats are often lost and never find their way back home. Even nesting birds and other small mammals can flee their nests, leaving their babies behind. They are so disoriented that they never find their way back, permanently leaving their babies to starve.
The list of animals harmed by the panic and disorientation caused by these celebrations is enormous. Birds flying into windows, flying out to sea, flying into trees and buildings, the harm caused by pyrotechnics is never-ending.
The Environmental Management Authority (EMA) should be the ones responsible for the noise and excessive lights caused by fireworks; however, they are looking into noiseless fireworks as a solution. But what about the bright lights that can turn night into day, if only momentarily? There have been documented cases where birds, startled by the lights, can fly up from their sleep. Many birds are found dead from flying into objects and the ground.
According to audubon.org, “Dutch scientists used operational weather radar to track bird disturbances in grassland and wetland areas during fireworks displays. They found that birds in those areas tended to take flight en masse during displays—a non-fatal move in open areas, but more deadly in urban locations.” The only viable solution is to either close the zoo entirely or move it to a non-urban location. Ideally, all zoo animals need approved sanctuaries with space and environment that closely approximates their natural habitat.
President, Trinidad Animal Protection Agency (TAPA).