The Islamabad High Court (IHC) held that animals in captivity at the Marghazar Zoo in Islamabad have been kept in conditions that amount to subjecting them to unnecessary pain and suffering and court wants Kaavan relocation.
While deciding a petition of the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board against the Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI), the verdict regretted the Kaavan – the zoo’s lone elephant – has been treated cruelly by subjecting him to unimaginable pain and suffering for the past three decades and his continued captivity in the circumstances would expose the authorities to criminal consequences under the relevant laws and now courts want Kaavan relocation.
Kaavan was gifted by Sri Lanka in 1985 when he was a year old and for more than 30 years, has been kept chained in a small enclosure, with inappropriate conditions required to meet the physiological, social, and behavioral needs of this extraordinary species of living beings.
The pain and suffering of Kaavan must come to an end by relocating him to an appropriate elephant sanctuary, in or outside the country, the verdict held, adding the chairman of the Board of Wildlife Management, constituted under the Wildlife Ordinance of 1979 should forthwith make arrangements, preferably in consultation with and the consent of the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to relocate Kaavan to a suitable sanctuary within 30 days. The board can seek assistance from experts and international entities or organizations in this regard.
Similarly the board will also relocate all the remaining animals to their respective sanctuaries within 60 days from the date of receiving a certified copy of this judgment, the court said.
The board will also take over the management of the zoo whereas MCI and the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) chief commissioner will assist the board till the animals have been relocated.
The minister in charge of the Ministry of Climate Change and members of the board will jointly be liable for the welfare and wellbeing of each animal till their relocation to their respective sanctuaries, the judgment held.