An inquiry committee, set up to investigate the death of a golden tabby tiger at Karachi Zoo, officially started its probe on Thursday and is expected to complete it within a couple of days, according to the officials.
The committee consists of officials from the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) and wildlife experts.
“The committee’s chairman, senior director of culture and sports Saif Abbas Hasani, has sent a letter to Hashmi asking him to appear before the committee with all relevant records today,” said a source with knowledge of the development citing the official letter.
The source said the committee has also identified and shortlisted other officials who will be interviewed during the 15-day process.
The 13-year-old golden tabby tiger died at the Karachi Zoo last week, marking the fourth big cat fatality in three years. Officials believe that the tiger had been ill for some time and may not have received proper care. The zoo had previously lost a lion, one of four big cats seized by customs authorities in 2010, and a male lion and white lioness in separate incidents last year. KMC officials had attributed all these deaths to old age.
The inquiry committee, which also includes Dr. Zameer Khanzada, Dr. Farhan Issani, a senior veterinary officer at the livestock department, Dr. Zulfiqar Odho, in charge of the Richmond Crawford Hospital, and Dr. Taj Muhammad, aims to determine the cause of the tiger’s death and identify any shortcomings in the zoo’s care of its animals. The zoo has been criticized in the past for inadequate facilities and poor conditions for its animals. The committee’s findings are expected to shed light on the zoo’s operations and management practices and may lead to reforms to improve the welfare of the animals in its care.
Plight of the zoo’s African Elephant
Meanwhile, in another barren and secluded enclosure at Karachi Zoo Noor Jehan, an endangered African elephant is suffering from hind leg problems that have left her limping and in distress, according to vet experts. Urgent action is required to relocate the elephant to Safari Park, the experts stressed.
The 17 years old elephant has been living in captivity at the zoo for several years and underwent significant tusk surgery last year. However, her current ailment has left her partially immobilized.
Zoo officials claim that the elephant has been receiving treatment for the pain for the past two months and that her condition has improved. They assert that the condition is normal in captive animals and linked it to an aching knee that lasts for a while.
However, experts believe that Noor Jehan needs to be moved to Safari Park as soon as possible, where she can receive proper medical attention and care. The zoo is reportedly in contact with foreign experts and expects a visit from Four Paws, an international animal rights group, soon.