The black bear, which was caught from the National Park of the capital and was then sent to Balkasar bear sanctuary in Chakwal, remains to be a mystery as the relevant authorities do not confirm weather it is alive or dead.
By Kasim Abbasi
After the story of Kavaan, the elephant which was sent to Cambodia for better living, and two lions that were suffocated to death, the idea of shifting that bear from the Islamabad zoo surfaced as an effort to save the zoo animals and put an end to their increasing deaths mainly because of mismanagement and negligence on the part of the respective departments.
On the Islamabad High Court (IHC) orders, the black bear was also transported to the sanctuary from the Islamabad zoo for its better look after. A copy of the documents related to its transfer is available with The News.
However, it has been learnt that there is no possible way to trace that black bear now. This correspondent also came across some unconfirmed reports from some senior officials in the Capital that the bear was no more in this world.
Several requests by The News to different departments for any update on the bear also failed as none knew about the bear’s actual condition. The News contacted Minister for Climate Change, Islamabad Wildlife Management Board, AD Wildlife Board Chakwal, AC Chakwal and the Balkasar bear sanctuary to investigate the matter but the presence of the bear remained unconfirmed.
The News also contacted Dr Fakhar, who heads the sanctuary in Chakwal, and learnt that the bear could actually not be tracked out for any evaluation or know its well-being. When he was asked if the bear had died, Fakhar said “it may have, or it may have not; we don’t know about it”. Elaborating his statement, he said most bears die from snake bite or their own fights.
When asked why bears are kept with snakes, or are left to fight each other, Fakhar said the facility was meant for rehabilitating the bear, and it was not an animal hospital.
“We are not a health facility; we provide rehabilitation to bears, and it is in their nature to fight each other, which sometimes proves fatal. Our major aim is to provide them a natural environment, and we are providing it,” added Dr Fakhar.
He said there was no possibility of tracking a particular bear as they have many around. That particular bear would have grown and changed its outlook over two years.
In short, one of the largest bear sanctuaries in the world in terms of the total number of specific animals, has no record or even a way to track each of its captive bears to evaluate their health condition.
The News also requested Abid Hussain, AD Wildlife Board Chakwal, and Mr Umer, who is the assistant commissioner in the area, to check on the black bear, which was sent from Islamabad. Both of them also failed to give any clue to its presence at the sanctuary.
Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) AD Sakhawat Ali confirmed the bear was shifted to the Chakwal sanctuary but he said they know nothing about it now as their job was done after its safe deliverance to the sanctuary.
The international wildlife departments have expressed their reservations about the safety of zoo animals in Pakistan. Kavaan, a depressed elephant, kept in Islamabad zoom was declared as the loneliest elephant in the world. Two bears were also sent to a sanctuary in Jordan from the Islamabad Zoo for their protection and safety. Two lions were killed due to suffocation when fire was ignited by the zoo management to load them onto a truck for their transfer to a sanctuary. Instead of their safe shifting, they were killed.
According to different reports, the animals kept in the zoos and wildlife parks of Pakistan are seen to be ignored as far as their physical and mental well-being was concerned.
Originally published at The news international