Now Reading: Islamabad Zoo’s Lions Die During Transport, Police Files Case Against Caretakers
A pair of lions died while being transported from the Islamabad zoo to a farmhouse in Lahore, the wildlife authorities confirmed on Thursday. The lions were brought to the zoo in May 2016 from Lahore Safari Park. They were being transferred on an order from the Islamabad court which was issued after finding out that the animals were not being properly cared for. The lion and the lioness were handed to Khalid Mohiuddin Wildlife Pvt Ltd and they were responsible for their transfer. The lioness died on the way to the farmhouse on Wednesday. On the other hand, the lion died after reaching there. The deaths have been reported to be because of the negligence of the caretakers.
A video of a fire being ignited in the lions’ cage was shared on social media too. In the video, it could be seen that instead of handling the transfer professionally, the caretakers were poking the lions with sticks in order to get it out of its enclosure. When that failed, they lit a fire in their cage in order to make them unconscious, rather than using a tranquilizer.
FIR Filed Against The Lions’ Caretakers For Negligence
Ministry of Climate Change formed an investigation committee on the matter which shed further light on the negligence of the caretakers. Ministry officials said it was ill-advised to move animals during “extreme” weather conditions. They said the already-high stress of the transport was added to by the suffocation from the fire, eventually killing both the lions. Pakistan Wildlife Foundation Safwan Shahab also stated that international law was not followed for the transfer of the lions and the unprofessional handling caused them to die of suffocation. The negligence of the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board is also being investigated in the case.
An FIR has been registered under Section 5 of the Animal Act 1990 against the caretakers by the Kohsar police. According to the law, ‘if any person kills any animal in an unnecessarily cruel manner, he shall be punished with fine which may extend to two hundred rupees (then), or with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with both’.
WWF Cuts Ties With Islamabad Wildlife Board
After the video of the event went viral, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Pakistan condemned this mistreatment of the now-dead lions in a statement. They expressed their ‘grave’ concern over this video and decided to cut ties with the Islamabad wildlife board for now. The statement added that WWF-Pakistan knows of the potential risks involved in moving wild animals from one facility to another. But even considering this, there “is absolutely no excuse for the treatment of an animal as seen in the videos.” They stated,
“It is absolutely abhorrent and unacceptable to treat any animal this way. WWF-Pakistan has expressed its disappointment to the IWMB and hopes that those who are responsible will be brought to justice for this repulsive act. In the wake of this incident, as a protest, WWF-Pakistan has also stepped down from the board of the IWMB, of which it has been a member for several years.”