Most zoos attract visitors with their array of wild or exotic animals.
But Pakistan’s Karachi Zoo has taken the concept to a whole other level.
For decades, visitors have been flocking to see Mumtaz Mahal, described as a “mythical half-fox, half-woman creature”.
The man playing the character is 33-year-old Murad Ali, who took over the role from his father, who died 16 years ago.
Murad Ali, impersonates a woman with a fox carcass apparently attached to his head, saying (Urdu): “The visitors go away happy. And knowing that they feel happy makes me happy too. There is a bond of love between me and them. Life is very short; it should be spent spreading smiles.”
And Mumtaz isn’t just a pretty face – for 12 hours a day, the mythical creature offers insights about wide ranging topics – from marriage advice to school tests.
Mohammad Osama, sixth grade student, saying (Urdu): “I feel good. I had a nice talk with her. I’m really happy.”
It costs just 10 U.S. cents to see Mumtaz who is joined at the neck to the seemingly dead fox. It may be classed as bizarre by many and even cruel by others, but zoo officials claim the money is enough to turn a profit and to pay Ali’s salary.