Islamabad HC slams Pak govt for depriving bears of natural habitat, says zoos no less than concentration camps

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Islamabad [Pakistan], December 15   Following the relocation of elephant ‘Kaavan’ to a sanctuary in Cambodia from Pakistan, the Islamabad High Court has compared zoos to concentration camps and slammed the government for depriving two Himalayan bears at Marghazar Zoo of their natural habitat.
According to a report by Dawn, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah on Monday compared zoos to concentration camps, adding that it was inhumane to have deprived the two bears — Suzie and Bubloo — at Marghazar Zoo of their natural habitat for the mere “entertainment of the human species”.
Earlier, the IHC had summoned the Ministry of Climate Change and the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board for cancelling the relocation of the two bears to a sanctuary in Jordan and relocating them to Ayub National Park in Rawalpindi.
“The natural habitat of Suzie and Bubloo was the high altitude plateau of Deosai National Park in the Himalayas. It was indeed inhumane to have deprived them of living in their natural habitat merely for the entertainment of the human species,” the court said in its order.
It further said, “They have remained caged in the Marghazar zoo for more than a decade. A zoo, no matter how well equipped, is no less than a concentration camp for living beings. Both the bears were sent by the creator to live free in their natural habitats. They were born free and taking them out of their natural habitat and caging them was in violation of the natural rights bestowed upon them by the creator.”
In a joint statement, Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) and animal welfare organisation Four Paws International said, “The relocation of the two Himalayan Brown Bears Suzie and Bubloo, kept at Marghazar Zoo, has been approved by all involved parties! We are happy that the Ministry of Climate Change and the IWMB took yet another decision in favour of animal welfare.”
“This week Dr Amir Khalil and his team will bring the bears to its Jordanian sanctuary Al Ma’Wa for Nature and Wildlife, which is run by Princess Alia Foundation and FOUR PAWS. There, Suzie and Bubloo will find a species-appropriate home and the proper care they urgently need,” the organisation added.
After spending 35 years in Islamabad’s Marghazar zoo, the ‘world’s loneliest elephant’ Kaavan departed for a new home in Cambodia on December 1.
In May, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) ruled that the animals kept in Marghazar Zoo were kept in cruel conditions and the zoo should be closed. In July, the court approved the plan to move Kaavan to Cambodia.
Kaavan was dubbed as the ‘world’s loneliest elephant’ after his plight gained international attention. The unhappy elephant was also diagnosed as emotionally and physically unstable, while veterinarians have said that the elephant was malnourished.
The miserable condition of the elephant in Islamabad had created an uproar among animal rights groups in the country and other nations.

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