Islamabad’s Marghazar Zoo has time and time again landed itself in hot waters over the inadequate treatment given to the animals who reside there. In the last few years, the zoo has seen the demise of over 20 animals and animal rights activists have often criticised the government for its lack of attention towards the zoo.
The zoo has recently come under fire again because of a Himalayan brown bear who is in a sorry condition and has multiple injuries. The source of her injuries are not known but zoo authorities say Soozi got her face and right leg injured during mating, which is apparently a common phenomenon. Zoo authorities claim that the bear is being treated for injuries and that the wounds have almost healed up but pictures and videos on social media paint a different picture.
As per social media, the matter first came to light when PAWS Pakistan posted a video of the Himalayan brown bear limping and nursing an open wound.
Soozi is being kept in a small cage, which barely fits her, restricting her movement. The zoo director said that keeping the injured animal in a small cage was “necessary for her proper treatment” and that the veterinary doctor recommended it.
Even then, the enclosure where Soozi and her partner, Balu, are kept is not suitable for such animals. In fact, most of the enclosures in the zoo are inadequate and reportedly do not meet the standard operating procedure (SOP). The lion’s enclosure is also too small as is that of Kavaan, the lone elephant.
According to media reports, the government is considering transferring the administration of the facility to the Ministry of Climate Change. A few months ago, Minister for Climate Change Zartaj Gul had requested the government to hand over the zoo’s administration to them. Meanwhile, a case regarding the conditions of the Islamabad zoo is currently ongoing in the Islamabad High Court.
Mayor Sheikh Anser Aziz stated that maximum facilities were being provided in the given funds and that the government has not allocated any funds to the zoo. In fact, the PTI government has even dropped a project by the PML-N government worth Rs200 million for strengthening and upgrading the zoo.
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