To exert more control over their operations, the Department of Environment has instructed all zoos, bird gardens and animal care centers to bring their activities up to the national standards and apply for permits within six months.
There are currently 20 zoos across the country, of which four have failed to obtain a legal permit. They have been given six months to upgrade their facilities and complete the required documents, otherwise they will be shut down by DOE, Mehr News Agency reported.
The imposition of strict restrictions on unlicensed facilities for trade, exchange and accepting donations of wild animals, “it only makes sense to encourage [the facilities] to apply for permits or risk being closed down”, said Ali Teymouri, director of the Hunting and Fishing Office of DOE.
Only half of Iran’s 20 bird gardens are licensed; the other half has been found acceptable in terms of nutrition and hygiene, and is undergoing the bureaucratic procedures.
Twenty-seven animal care centers, out of a total of 37, are legally licensed and the other 10 are required to make refors and obtain permits within six months.
“Over half of these establishments were operating illegally only two years ago, while today over 75% of them are authorized and conform to DOE standards,” Teymouri said.
The official added that in spite of all the shortcomings, the department makes efforts to ensure regular monitoring of the facilities, which is supposed to be carried out every three months by provincial offices and reported to the central office in Tehran at least once a year.
Creating a technical supervisory committee with a permanent secretariat and regular meetings, formulating guidelines for the launch and management of animal reserves, participating in international environment expos and holding specialized meetings to review the guidelines are among measures taken by DOE to improve the conditions of captive animals.
Teymouri stressed that since many zoos and bird gardens are run by private owners, they are affected by the country’s economic conditions and therefore may not be able to meet the requirements of DOE as quickly as desired, despite their willingness.
Besides, the ban on the use of animals in circuses has imposed a new burden on these sanctuaries, as they were forced to design new spaces for the former-circus animals.
Animal care centers are, however, managed by municipalities and more is expected from them in terms of compliance with DOE standards.
By Financial Tribune