Two bears from Islamabad zoo to relocate to Jordan sanctuary

Local sanctuaries are reluctant to home the bears as they need special care

Two bears from the now-closed Marghazar Zoo in Islamabad will be moved to Al-Ma’wa Wildlife Reserve, a sanctuary in Jordan. The sanctuary, which was established in 2011 by the Princess Alia Foundation and the international animal welfare group Four Paws in Jerash, specializes in housing ill-treated animals. This would be the second movement of this kind as the Asian Elephant in the zoo Kaavan is also in the process to be moved to a sanctuary in Cambodia.

Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) chairman Dr. Anees ur Rehman said that the move was made possible after the King’s Aunt Princess Alia allowed import permit within a day.

“They (the bears) will be going to Jordan because of the facilitation by the Jordanian government,” Rehman said in a media interview. “The bear sanctuary is looked after by the (Jordanian) king’s aunt, Princess Alia, and she has given us an import permit within a day.”

He added that the government realizes that these animals will receive proper treatment abroad and it is important for their health. The two bears were freed from captivity and were used for dancing previously.

“This is the first time that animals from Pakistan are being taken abroad for rest and recreation and health recovery,” he said, adding: “The government realizes that animals need first class attention. These captive animals will receive first class attention.”

Rehman also said that there are sanctuaries that are present in the country. However, these sanctuaries are unwilling to home these bears as at least one of them, Suzi, needs special care for injuries which they will not be able to provide.

“Actually, we had requested other zoos and sanctuaries in the country if they could take these bears,” he said. “There is a bear sanctuary in Pakistan, but no one was ready to take them.”

Suzi has injuries and was provided an unsuitable diet. Her nails were also overgrown that made it hard for her to move around. However, with better care and diet by Four Paws, the animal has mostly healed and is in much better health now.  

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