Environment

Islamabad zoo bears fit to travel, wildlife dept tells cour

The two Himalayan bears at the Islamabad zoo are fit to travel now, the wildlife department told the Islamabad High Court on Monday.

Islamabad Wildlife Management Board Chairperson Dr Anis Rehman appeared in court and told the judges that the health of the bears has improved. Dr Amir Khalil, who has been appointed amicus curiae in the case, is working to help the animals become fit, he added.

The fate of the two bears has yet to be decided as the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab governments have declined to take their custody. The Balkasar Bear Sanctuary authorities, on the other hand, said that the temperature at the sanctuary won’t suit the bears who are used to higher altitudes.

“What happened to the elephant? Can he travel now?” asked Chief Justice Athar Minallah.

Kaavan has befriended Dr Khalil and is happy now, Dr Rehman shared.

Animals aren’t meant to be kept in cages, said the chief justice. “All zoos have been closed in Costa Rica.”

The government has set an example by implementing the orders of the court and the credit goes to Prime Minister Imran Khan for welcoming the decision, said the court.

Many activists rejoiced after the court ordered the transfer of animals from Marghazar zoo to suitable sanctuaries on May 22. The verdict was announced on three combined petitions: relocation of two brown bears, treatment of Kaavan, and stopping the shooting of stray dogs.

Kaavan, the only elephant at the Islamabad Zoo, is being shifted to Cambodia.

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