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Team of foreign wildlife experts to visit Pakistan for Kaavan’s medical check-up

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Media representatives take video and photographs of elephant Kaavan as he stands behind a fence at the Marghazar Zoo in Islamabad, Pakistan, July 18, 2020. AFP/Files

ISLAMABAD: In order to proceed to the next step of the move of Kaavan — the beloved but lonely elephant residing in the federal capital's zoo — to its forever home in Cambodia, a team of international wildlife experts will soon visit Pakistan for his medical check-up, a notification from the Ministry of Climate Change issued Wednesday read.

According to the notification, the visas were issued by the Pakistani embassy in Thailand.

The Ministry of Climate Change had written a letter to the ministry of foreign affairs on July 20 to implement the rulinh of the Islamabad High Court (IHC), calling for Kaavan's release.

"International wildlife experts will arrive in Pakistan in the next few days for a medical check-up of Kaavan, the elephant," the notification read.

The experts would examine Kaavan's health at Islamabad's Marghazar Zoo before compiling and releasing their final report to the ministry.

Documents prepared

Once that is done, a final decision would be made on whether to send Kavaan to the Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary, the notification added.

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Last month, sources had informed Geo News that the documents for Kaavan's transfer to Cambodia had been prepared.

The same day, the IHC had lambasted the Ministry of Climate Change for politicking over animals — especially those in the federal capital's Marghazar Zoo — with Chief Justice Athar Minallah remarking that "our heads should hang in shame".

During a hearing over delays in the transfer of bears from Islamabad's Marghazar Zoo, Justice Minallah had expressed anger over a lack of protection given to the bears, as well as the issue of their transfer elsewhere.

'Our heads should hang in shame!'

The top judge observed that at least 40 giraffes were brought to the zoo from abroad and "all of them are dead".

"Our heads should hang in shame! The Ministry of Climate Change is responsible for such treatment of animals," he said.

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"In this entire case, it only engaged in politicking. The ministry is only interested in making statements and engaging in politics. [It] is responsible for harming God's creatures," he added.

On July 31, the lion and lioness at Islamabad's Marghazar Zoo had died when the zoo staff set fire in the cage and used sticks to scare off the animals, frightening and confusing them in the process.

The lioness had died then and the lion succumbed to injuries shortly thereafter.

Lion, lioness die during transfer

A video obtained by Geo News showed mismanagement at the zoo while the lion was being taken out of its cage. Sources had said the lion sustained injuries due to the staff's mismanagement during its transfer from Marghazar Zoo to Lahore.

The animal was in a poor condition, they added, noting that several others, including deer and birds, were injured during earlier transfer processes.

Moreover, three Belgian Blue cows and an ostrich also died during transfer.

Zoo officials had admitted then that six deer had died during transfers so far. These included two spotted deer, two elks, and one Indian gazelle.


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