Islamabad: Suffocation, starvation and dehydration were among the main causes for two lions’ death four days ago while they were being transferred from Islamabad’s Margazar zoo to a farmhouse in Lahore, a post-mortem report revealed.
The poorly-trained staff clearly violated the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) accepted worldwide for transfer of wild animals and instead resorted to intimidate them by lighting fire in their enclosures that led to the animals’ death.
- Inside the Abu Dhabi wedding of Pakistan's power couple Sajal Aly and Ahad Raza Mir
- Photos: Readers'pick of the best travel destinations in Bolivia, France, India and Pakistan
- Pakistani Actress Mariyam Nafees opens out about harassment
- BFF Alert! Pakistani actor Zara Abbas and Sajal Ali give out major friendship goals
The report further said the lungs and stomachs of both the big cats had swollen and they could not survive the torture methods used by the staff of the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) and the Margazar Zoo.
Case registered against 3 men for violating SOPs
Meanwhile, a case has been registered on the complaint of a journalist against three persons for allegedly torturing the lions. The case was registered at a local police station under various sections of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and Animal Act 1990.
According to the First Information Report (FIR), a video shows three persons lighting fires in the animals’ enclosure. They also poked one lion with sticks to force it out.
Pakistani law penalises people for killing animals in an unnecessarily cruel manner. Those convicted under the law must pay a fine of Rs200 (Dh4.40) and can be imprisoned for up to six months.
Fire and smoke were used excessively to force the lions out of the cage resulting in severe injuries, suffocation and eventually death.
The report also claimed that one lion was beaten with sticks during the transfer. Kohsar Police of Islamabad have asked for video footage of the incident from the complainant, to identify the accused for further legal action.
Committee to probe big cats’ death
The Ministry of Climate Change has also constituted a committee to probe the incident and to fix responsibility on the culprits.
According to Adviser to PM on Climate Change, Malik Amin Aslam, the committee will conduct an independent inquiry and submit its findings after Eid holidays and see if wildlife laws were violated in shifting the wild cats or not.
No one will be spared and swift action will be taken in light of the report, he said.
WWF cuts ties with Islamabad’s wildlife board
After the incident, the World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature decided to cut ties with the Islamabad wildlife board for the time being.
“WWF-Pakistan condemns the ill-treatment of the lion kept at Islamabad Zoo and has expressed its disappointment to the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board and hopes that those who are responsible will be brought to justice for this repulsive act,” it said in a statement after the video showing the lions being beaten and their cage being set on fire went viral on social media.