Climate Change Ministry stops relocation of Islamabad Zoo bears

The ministry claims that a sanctuary for endangered species is being set up in Pir Sohawa

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has been surprised by the decision of Ministry of Climate Change to cancel permits to relocate two Himalayan bears to a sanctuary in Jordan.

Four Paws was also taken aback by the decision from the ministry. These bears were living in the now-defunct Marghazar Zoo in Islamabad. Kaavan, the lonely Asian elephant from the same zoo, was relocated to Cambodia a couple of weeks back.  

Government claims its setting up a sanctuary

An official said that the funds are now available and the ministry wants to show the world that it can take care of the animals properly. The official accepted that the animals were mistreated in the past and it will be changed now. They also claim that a sanctuary is being set up in Pir Sohawa for the ritically endangered species and Marghazar Zoo will be brought to international standards.

“The ministry wants to keep the two bears in a new sanctuary being developed near Pir Sohawa, Margalla Hills National Park, where people can see the critically endangered species. The government has already set aside Rs1.6 billion to build the sanctuary here. As much as Rs1 billion will be spent to overhaul Islamabad Zoo and establish a state-of-the-art animal conservation centre,” the official said.

“The ministry has the space and the funds to make it happen and prove to the world that animals can get proper care according to international standards. There can be no denying that we mistreated animals and they have suffered and the zoo shut down. But let this be a start to turn things around and make it better for the animals,” the official added.

Four Paws speaks on the matter

Four Paws said it had the permit for relocation which was revoked at the last minute without providing a reason. The organization also said that the health of the two bears improved after their intervention.

“Everything was planned and organised for the transfer but then our team was informed that the climate change ministry has cancelled the export permit of the bears for unknown reasons,” said Four Paws.

“She is now recovering and healthy. Both bears are doing well physically now that we have put them on a better nutritional diet of fruits and vegetables. Suzie had diarrhea all the time because she was mostly fed milk,” according to Marion Lombard, spokesperson for the Four Paws.

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