Despite criticism over the size of the temporary giraffe enclosure at the Emperor Valley Zoo, Zoological Society president Gupte Lutchmedial says the zoo was well-prepared to receive the animals.Yesterday, he defended the zoo against comments in a letter to the T&T Guardian that the giraffe enclosure was too small.
In a telephone interview yesterday, Lutchmedial said the enclosure which housed the giraffes was adequate and the official giraffe enclosure, which was still being constructed, met international standards to hold four large mammals and was designed by an internationally recognised zoo architect.The architect was Patrick Janikowski, who has designed zoos around the world, including the United States, Africa, Asia and Europe.
Lutchmedial said though some enclosures in other countries were bigger, people needed to keep in mind the Emperor Valley zoo was a city zoo.The giraffes were brought to this country earlier this month after a week-long trip from a zoo in Houston, Texas. They are living for now in an ostrich enclosure which has been doubled in size for them and is approximately 5,000 square feet.
Lutchmedial said: "I don't know what people think but we had to satisfy the zoo in the US where we got these animals that we were up to international standards before we got the giraffes."We are happy that people are interested and that people care enough to write about it but we have kept to international standards."Lutchmedial said the zoo had sent staff for training to handle the animals."Two years before the animals got here, we started preparing. We planted the food that we know they eat," he added.
The giraffes eat the acacia plant."These giraffes are from eight generations bred in captivity," Lutchmedial pointed out. "They are able to adjust to our environment and they have been responding very well to their new home."Nevertheless, he said, he could understand the concern of critics and was not deterred by criticism.He added: "I don't like animals in cages. I joined the society to change the way they keep animals. I get things done. We have two giraffes here and they are in the best of health."
He added that no place was ideal to keep an animal in captivity."Some animals are only surviving because they are in captivity, though, and that has to be acknowledged. Zoos can help animals continue to survive," he added.Lutchmedial said the giraffes would remain in the temporary enclosure for two months until the construction of the African exhibit was complete.