In some good news for Pakistan, the Asian elephant Kaavan, was given the all clear to be relocated to Cambodia. And now, animal lovers and animals’ rights activists have reason to rejoice once again because the Islamabad High Court (IHC) was told last week that import permits (NOC) from the Jordanian and the Cambodian authorities have been received for the relocation of two Himalayan brown bears (endangered species) and the lone Asian elephant Kaavan to be transferred to the animals’ sanctuaries there.
The two bears are all set to be relocated from Murghazar Zoo of Islamabad to the Princess Alia Foundation Al Ma’awa for Nature and Wildlife, Amman Jordan while Cambodia’s Elephants Wildlife Sanctuary will be the new home of Kaavan, the court was told. In the interim, the animals are being kept in Islamabad’s Murghazar Zoo and the international animals’ welfare organization, Four Paws International is looking after them with the cooperation of the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB).
It was in May this year that the IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah had ordered relocation of all the animals from the zoo on the account that the animals were being treated harshly and there was no end to their miseries and inevitable death in the zoo. Despite the court’s order, two rare species of wild cats, a lion and a lioness lost their lives to the unprofessional and poorly trained zoo officials who were trying to shift them from the zoo.
Following the lions’ death, the court initiated contempt proceedings against the minister for climate change and other senior officials in the lions’ death. In last week’s proceedings, the court was told that both the NOC have been issued under the Convention on International Trade In Endangered Species (CITES) of Wild Fauna And Flora duly endorsed by the Jordanian and the Cambodian authorities.
The Cambodian government has also issued No Objection Certification (Import Permit) for relocation of Kaavan to Four Paws International which is supervising as well as funding the entire project of the elephant’s relocation from Pakistan to Cambodia. And now, it’s just a matter of days before the two brown bears and the elephant will be shifted from Islamabad Zoo.