Islamabad: An official of the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) informed the Islamabad High Court (IHC) today that none of the provinces of Pakistan was ready to take two Himalayan bears that are currently being kept in the Marghazar Zoo in poor conditions.
These bears were rescued by the IWMB Islamabad from their captors as they were being used for entertainment purposes which is illegal according to Pakistani laws. The poor animals were tortured and their teeth were taken out by their masters.
The IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah had ordered in May this year to relocate all the animals from the zoo of Islamabad after two lions and several other animals were reportedly killed because of zoo administration’s negligence.
Minallah was so furious about the death of the animals that he initiated contempt proceedings against IWMB officials, Minister of climate change and federal secretary.
In pursuance of the IHC orders, three wolves, two bears, five vervet monkeys and 17 rabbits were shifted to Ayub Park sanctuary of Rawalpindi over the last two days, the court was told in today’s hearing.
About the bears, Chairman IWMB Dr Anisur Rehman informed the court that Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) wildlife departmens had refused to take those bears.
Care towards animals
Chief Justice Athar Minallah expressed his dismay that animals were not being accepted by the provincial governments.
This is the level of our sense of care towards animals that were maltreated and tortured unendingly, said CJ Athar Minallah.
“We have become so corrupt that we don’t hesitate to misuse food for the animals and sell it in the black market,” said Minallah.
The IWMB chairman also informed the court about the only Asian elephant Kaavan in the zoo. A team of Four Paws International has come from Austria to assess the animal’s health and fitness for its relocation to Cambodian elephants sanctuary, he said.
The chief justice while directing the head of the Four Paws team Dr. Amir Khalil to brief the court on Kaavan’s health adjourned hearing till Monday, September 28.
On the same day, the court will likely announce decision on Kaavan’s relocation to Cambodia.
“There were three wolves, two male and one female, besides monkeys and rabbits that we have relocated to their new abode in Ayub Park,” said Dr. Amir Khalil.
“After giving them anesthesia, we put microchips into wolves’ bodies as mark of identification and vaccinated them as well as conducted complete medical examination,” he added.
They seem to be in good condition and fit to be relocated to the Ayub Park, he said.
When asked if he was satisfied with the facilities in Ayub Park, he said the facilities and space in the park’s sanctuary were quite good.
After relocation of wolves and monkeys, the Marghazar Zoo is now left with only Kaavan, the only Asian elephant and the Himalayan bears.
About the bears, Khalil said there were two Himalayan bears, one male and one female. They are apparently 17 years old. The female bear is sick and operated and overall they are in better conditions.
Four Paws experts have been requested to come and examine Kaavan’s health and fitness to be relocated to Cambodia’s sanctuary for elephants.