Islamabad’s Marghazar Zoo’s two Himalayan brown bears are all set to fly to Jordan in 10 days, while Kaavan, the zoo’s lone elephant, is expected to leave for Cambodia by the end of November.

According to reports, Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) Chairman Dr Anisur Rehman has said that the two bears, including their import and export permits, are ready. He said that he is confident that the bears will receive better psychological and physical treatment in the sanctuary abroad.

“The bear sanctuary is looked after by the (Jordanian) king’s aunt, Princess Alia, and she has given us an import permit within a day,” shared Dr Rehman.


Dr Rehman also shared that they have also received the import permit for Kaavan which means the Cambodian government is willing to accept and introduce the 45-year-old elephant into one of its sanctuaries.

“This is the first time that animals from Pakistan are being taken abroad for rest and recreation and health recovery,” Dr Rehman shared, adding: “The government realises that animals need first-class attention, which these captive animals will receive.”


However, the bears are not being moved to Jordan permanently. According to Dr Rehman, the bears will be flown back to Islamabad once they have fully recovered and their enclosures at Islamabad Zoo are ready. Animals at the Islamabad Zoo are being relocated to temporary sanctuaries after the Islamabad High Court (IHC) ruled that the zoo is not fit enough for them and lacks the necessary facilities.

Both the Himalayan brown bears suffer from psychological problems due to living in a substandard enclosure, with the female undergoing major surgery due to her critical condition. This was also the reason why sanctuaries within Pakistan refused to take them in.

Dr Frank Goritz, head veterinarian at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research Berlin, treats Suzi on Sept. 22

Meanwhile, Friends of Islamabad Zoo (FIZ), who have been campaigning for the animals, appreciated the decision to move the bears to Jordan. In a note posted to social media, they addressed those who said that the bears should have been moved to a local sanctuary instead of an international one.

“Both the bears have no teeth and have been dependent on humans since birth,” wrote the animal rights body. “They will not be able to survive wild in the Deosai Plains and will need constant care.”

“Other than that from what we were told, Deosai now has 76 bears and adding two bears with no experience of living with other bears won’t be able to survive and will need to be kept confined.”

FIZ said that Al Ma’wa for Nature and Wildlife is the ideal place for the two bears because it is located 3500 feet above sea level, double the height of Islamabad and is climatically suited to Himalayan brown bears. They added that their facilities are top-class and the bears will be well taken care of there.