Nozha Zoo administration issued a decision to hire a private security company to protect the zoo during Easter, a holiday in which the zoo tends to be subjected to violations and sabotage due to inappropriate behavior from crowds, reported Al-Watan newspaper, which spoke to the zoo’s head, Iman Mokheimar.
Mokheimar explained that following January 25 revolution in 2011, the zoo suffered from violations, most notably the theft of expensive decorative birds, as well as violence against animals, including stoning them.
The zoo is also working on spreading awareness regarding animal treatment. Mokheimar explained that the zoo is teaching visitors to treat animals gently and to not cause them harm. Security will also be dealing firmly with any violations or attempts of sabotage.
Chimpanzees face the worst violations as thousands of people visit their section in Easter. Am Mohamed, who is the keeper of the Chimpanzees within the zoo, told Al-Watan, “the way the animal is treated gives it severe and continuous shocks, and over time its attitude changes.” He added that most of the violators are teenagers aged between 13 and 18.
“Violations against monkeys are not just done through striking them, some kids give them food that causes them stomach aches, such as juice and sweets. Another person once insisted on giving a monkey a cigarette to make people laugh, and of course this caused them harm.”
This is not the first time Egyptian zoos have faced violations by visitors. In March this year, Giza zoo stopped a visitor’s attempt to enter the bear’s cave.
Over recent years, especially during Easter, several zoos spotted violations towards their animals, as well as several cases of sexual harassment against other crowd attendees.
In 2017, police and medical services were deployed zoos to stop sexual harassment, as well as to tend to those fainting, which usually happens during Easter due to heavily crowded areas.
Even in 2013, all vacations for doctors working within the zoo were cancelled during Easter due to the fear that some crowd members would feed animals lethal food.