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The plight of the lone elephant continues

The plight of the lone elephant continues

ISLAMABAD: Kavaan, the lone elephant at Marghazar Zoo, whose case was taken up by animal rights activists from across the world because he did not have a partner and because of the conditions he is living under, does not have anywhere to take shade from the scorching sun under.

The animal does not have an enclosure large enough so that he can move freely and the three-walled structure made for him does not provide adequate shade in the summer months.

His partner, Saheli, died in 2012 reportedly due to negligence by the zoo staff and he has been alone since though various promises were made for bringing him another elephant to the zoo in Islamabad.
Kavaan has nowhere to hide from the sun; moat filled with dirty water, enclosure not large enough to house an elephant

“It is so cruel of the zoo administration to make the elephant live in such conditions with the tin sheds making the heat even more unbearable,” said Afzal Khan, a former bureaucrat.

He said that the Capital Development Authority (CDA) could easily expand the elephant’s enclosure towards Margalla Hills but “perhaps [CDA officials] do not have time and are not interested in the rights of the voiceless and defenceless animal”.

A visitor to the zoo, Benish Raza said the elephant’s has been a struggle.

“Look at how the elephant is standing even. The CDA had chained him before and thank God they have unshackled him now. But they don’t bother to improve his enclosure, which is not safe for him to live in and is not big enough for an elephant either,” she said.

Kavaan, the Asian elephant, has been the zoo’s main attraction for years and CDA has often made promises of improving his enclosure though the civic authority is yet to make good on those promises.

The animal’s moat is usually filled with dirty water which may be why Kavaan refrains from taking a bath, even not to cool himself in the hot weather.

“The CDA should think about Kavaan’s needs. He has been confined to a small space for over two decades,” said a visitor, Nazia Shah.

She also suggested that CDA make use of the unused area at the rear of the elephant’s enclosure.

Talking to Dawn, the zoo’s director Rashid Khan said that the file work for expanding the zoo was ‘almost’ complete.

“We will be expanding Kavaan’s enclosure as well,” he added.

When asked about the dirty water in Kavaan’s pond, the director said: “Because of increased loadshedding over the last two days, our tube wells are not working.”

He said that the problem had been fixed and claimed that his team was going to change the water in the moat and insisted that the animal was well-taken care of.

The current CDA management is thinking about expanding the zoo, either through the Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) initiative or by involving private organisations.

A few days ago, the member environment told Dawn that the zoo would not be expanded through BOT nor through a public-private partnership.

“CDA will be bearing the expenses and a private firm will be lending help to the CDA for improving the zoo. In return, the private firm will be given management of the zoo for a specific period,” he said.

Rumours of the CDA management outsourcing the zoo are also doing the rounds.

Under its existing rules, CDA cannot make a deal through a public-private partnership while only one project, for toll plazas, was conducted through BOT for which a few CDA officers are facing corruption inquiries.

Courtesy : Dawn News



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