PHOTO GALLERY: Egypt's Giza Zoo empty on Eid, strewn with rubbish

Ayman Barayez, Monday 20 Aug 2012

Cairo's poorly-kept zoo failed to attract the usual stream of holidaymakers during Eid Al-Fitr; conditions remain subpar, children left unsupervised

A kid climbing one of the cages at the Giza zoo (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Giza zoo, the oldest in Africa and the biggest in the Middle East, failed to attract its usual surge of visitors on the first day of Eid Al-Fitr, despite being a popular destination during public holidays.

During last April’s Easter celebrations the Cairo-based zoo was reportedly visited by thousands of families. However, on the first day of Egypt’s most important festival, the deserted site was covered in rubbish and barely supervised as children climbed the cages. Only vendors were at its gates, hoping to make the most of the usual stream of holidaymakers.

While it is unusual for there to be so few visitors, the lack of hygiene and discipline is a common occurance. The zoo has often been criticised for not being regulated and for failing to reach international standards.

In 2004, the zoo's membership was suspended from the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) for not abiding by the rules set by the International Federation of Zoos, which resulted in many of the rare animals falling ill.

Giza Zoo’s authorities continue to promise to improve the subpar living conditions for the animals and to fulfill international requirements.

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