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The Financial Express

Coronavirus fallout: City street animals facing severe food crisis

FE REPORT | Published: April 04, 2020 10:04:23 | Updated: April 05, 2020 16:55:13


As dogs find food scarce as people are staying home, a man is seen feeding the animals at Shantibagh in the city on Friday — FE photo As dogs find food scarce as people are staying home, a man is seen feeding the animals at Shantibagh in the city on Friday — FE photo

Animals of the Dhaka city streets, especially the dogs, are facing a severe food crisis in the prevailing situation amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The crisis has been triggered in the city after the government declared a shutdown across the country as a precautionary measure to combat Covid-19 infection and prevent its spread.

Left-over foods of the households and hotels are the main sources of supplies for these animals. But the food supply through these sources dropped drastically in last two weeks as a large number of people have left the capital city following the shutdown and hotels remained closed.

As a result, the dogs are searching for food here and there. These animals are chasing after the pedestrians when they are carrying any packet. This reporter experienced such cases at some spots of the city recently while coming to office.

Dr Mohammad Mostafa Feeroz, a faculty member of the Department of Zoology at Jahangirnagar University, said, "The dogs may become violent in the event of a food crisis. Many diseases, including hydrophobia, can spread due to their bites."

"Besides, if they die in the event of any food crisis, environmental pollution can occur. So the government bodies concerned should take care of it," added Professor Mostafa Feeroz.

But no specific government initiative has been noticed to address the problem the animals facing.

When contacted, Fisheries and Livestock Minister S M Rezaul Karim did not agree to make any comment over the issue.

However, some people individually and some organisations are occasionally distributing food among these animals on their own.

A voluntary organisation named 'Peoples for Animals Welfare (PAW) Foundation' is working to arrange food for the street animals in this crisis situation.

Chairman of the organisation, Raqibul Haq, said his teams are working in Mirpur, Mohammadpur, Dhanmondi and Motijheel areas for the last one week.

Another voluntary organisation, Ek Belar Khabar Boba Pranider Jonno, is also working to arrange food for the street animals. Founder of the organisation Orpita Khan Mohua said her teams had been working in Norda, Bashundhara, Baridhara and Uttara areas of the city since March 23 this year to supply food to the street animals.

She urged the members of the society to help the street animals in this crisis situation.

bikashju@gmail.com

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