Pakistan: Peshawar Zoo authorities move court seeking permission to import elephants

Nov 17, 2020 | News

By Shehzad Ali – SAMAA

The authorities of the Peshawar Zoo have approached the Supreme Court seeking permission to import a pair of elephants from Zimbabwe.

Justice Yahya Afridi said that the petitioners have filed an appeal against the verdict of the Peshawar High Court. “How can you ask the government to give you permission to bring elephants?”

The Islamabad High Court said that the elephant should be sent back and we want to bring the elephants to Pakistan, said Advocate Niaz Wali Khan, the lawyer of the Peshawar Zoo.

A team of international experts has surveyed the zoo and said that it is suitable for the elephants, he said.

A three-member bench, headed by Justice Mushir Alam, has issued notices to the respondents and adjourned the hearing for two weeks.

Peshawar Zoo has been in the limelight since it was inaugurated on February 22, 2018 because of the frequent mistreatment of animals and their deaths reported there.

Earlier this year in August, a number of people in Peshawar filed a joint petition at the Peshawar High Court against the negligence of the city’s zoo administration, which they claimed has resulted in the deaths of multiple animals.

The petitioners requested that the condition of the zoo should be upgraded as per international standards and animals not suited to the climate of Peshawar should be shifted to a sanctuary or some other zoo in Pakistan.

Throughout the year, multiple incidents have surfaced of disturbing deaths of animals. The construction of the Peshawar zoo was met with opposition by multiple civil society and animal rights organisations in 2018. The government, however, did not take them into consideration.

Case of Kaavan

Kaavan, the sole elephant at the Islamabad zoo, and his poor living conditions were the subject of debate in Pakistan and around the world with people calling for better treatment for the elephant.

A petition garnered over 200,000 signatures after it emerged he was being chained at the Islamabad Zoo. The 35-year-old Asian elephant is said to be suffering from “mental illness” and without a better habitat his future is bleak even if a long-promised new mate finally arrives, experts have said.

Many activists rejoiced after the court had ordered the transfer of animals from Marghazar zoo to suitable sanctuaries on May 22. The court said that the elephant had suffered a lot at the “ill-equipped zoo”.
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