IHC orders release of Kaavan, all other animals from Islamabad Zoo

The elephant was living in isolation since the death of his female companion in 2012.

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) said that the animals kept in the Marghazar Zoo in Islamabad were being subjected to unnecessary pain and suffering as it gave a verdict on Islamabad Wildlife Management Board against the Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad case. The court observed violations of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1890 and the Wildlife Ordinance of 1979 in the case.

“Neither there are adequate facilities nor resources to provide living conditions that would meet the behavioral, social, and physiological needs of the animals,” the verdict from IHC Chief Justice Ather Minallah read.

The court has ordered that Kaavan, an elephant gifted by Sri Lanka in 1985, to be taken to an appropriate animal sanctuary within 30 days. The court suggested that the High Commission of Sri Lanka should be consulted on the matter as well. The animal was one year old at the time. Kaavan has been chained in a small enclosure and is the only elephant in the zoo.  

It was noted that Kaavan was living in isolation since the death of his female companion in 2012. The food provided to him was substandard as well. The shelters for the animals, in general, are also not up to the mark with city temperatures rising up to 42 degrees Celsius during summer.

Similarly, all the remaining animals of the zoo will also be relocated to animal sanctuaries within a period of 60 days. Currently there are dozens of animals including bears and tigers. The zoo will be required to get certified by a reputable international agency as being fit to house animals before it can reopen.

Iconic music artist and animal rights activist Cher expressed her delight over the release of the elephant by the court. She called it one of the best days of her life.   

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