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Tuesday 21 January 2020
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Letters to the Editor

Keeping zoo animals safe from fireworks

THE EDITOR: It is quite sad that one of the newly acquired animals, a baby kangaroo, at the Emperor Valley Zoo close to the Queen’s Park Savannah died soon after the Independence Day celebrations on August 31.

It is said the noise from the fireworks on that Saturday night may have cause shock and trauma to the poor animal, which caused it to go into cardiac arrest and from which it never recovered.

We may never know the truth about this matter as zoo personnel are insisting the fireworks noise caused it but organisers and patrons at the event would deny this was the cause of the animal’s demise. The animal could not talk (at least not in our language) and the other animals have no way of communicating a message to zookeepers.

Whichever way it goes there are advocates for noiseless fireworks and others are calling for the zoo to be relocated so they could enjoy their explosive events without bother.

Recently, there was a complaint that noise from a party held at a house owned by a well-known cricketer was the cause of much discomfort and unease among the animals at the zoo. So there is some evidence that noise does cause discomfort among the animals and perhaps that is why some of the cages have warning signs about startling the animals.

Several possible solutions have been offered by many concerned citizens. One is the use of silent fireworks. This idea will certainly take away from the impact and fun which is derived from actually hearing the sounds followed by explosive light formations.

Can you imagine going to the oval to see a T20 game without the sounds of the cheering crowd or watching a drama movie without the background sound-effects?

The suggestion of moving the zoo from its present location might be a good idea but it would be quite costly and cumbersome since the animals and the entire infrastructure including cages, pits, ponds, walkways, etc would have to be rebuilt.

The final option, which may please the masses, is to have the fireworks (since it’s just a once-a-year event) moved to another location. Fireworks are held at the Divali Nagar site in Chaguanas and on the San Fernando Hill annually with a high level of success.

There may be other locations such as the Aranguez Savannah, the Arima Velodrome, Felicity Grounds and even the Brian Lara Stadium in Tarouba which can all accommodate large crowds.

We need to stop choking up the capital with everything from too many offices, stores, sporting complexes, stadiums, cultural centres, etc and make things more centralised for the rest of the nation.

This matter needs some serious thought.



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