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Reasons to remember Rita

Reasons to remember Rita

The government of India had decades ago realised the gravity of the crisis of depleting wildlife and allotted vast spaces of green forests so that wildlife may flourish. Several protected stretches of lands exist as wildlife sanctuaries, national parks, and biosphere reserves for the sole purpose of protecting wildlife against human interference. Renewed measures are implemented to conserve flora and fauna in their natural states. Evolving with time, several innovative steps have also been taken to upgrade protection and conservation efforts. The introduction of wildlife tours was initiated and have turned out to be one of the best ways to make people aware of the importance of wildlife and wilderness for humans and other species. More prominently existing as places for display of the wild, zoos are intended to play a vital role in wildlife conservation. Field conservation as in natural parks and biosphere reserves focuses on the long-term survival of species in natural ecosystems and in their natural habitats. Zoos are part of in conservation projects that support studies of populations in the wild, species recovery efforts, veterinary care for wildlife disease issues, and conservation awareness. Zoos are thus like a natural laboratory for studying wildlife for their own betterment; zoos are not supposed to be places of confinement where animals become objects of display in a commercial venture. Zoos definitely do instil a lot of awareness among visitors about the animals, their needs and habitat but permanently confining an animal to a zoo is a matter of debate along ethics. Known as India's oldest chimpanzee, Rita died at age of 59 at Delhi zoo. With a mention in the Limca Book of records, the animal was born on December 12, 1960, in Amsterdam Zoo and was acquired by the Delhi zoo in 1990. Rita is also believed to be the oldest chimpanzee in Asia. Rita had been surviving in recent months through old age-related health problems and was on a liquid diet. She is reported to have been keeping unwell since July 27 as she was not eating properly and had become frail. Her liquid diet included juice, coconut water, and milk with ground almonds and walnuts. She had outlived the average lifespan of a chimpanzee which is around 50 years. While there is no doubt that Rita was kept in the best condition, the question still lingers, is it necessary to confine animals for public display and deprive them of the wild?

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