Tag Archives: elephants

Unchaining the elephants – and the minds of our zoo managers

Guest post by Naeem Sadiq:

Karachi zoo elephant exhibit

We agreed to disagree. That may be a polite expression to describe the interview a group of ‘ele-friends’ (Rumana Husain, Mahera, Sajjad and Naeem) had with the Director of the Karachi Zoo. The more we systematically enumerated our well-rehearsed roles and arguments, the more we realised that two sides were not ‘on the same page’. Our conclusion – there is no way the elephants in our zoos could be unchained – till the minds of the Zoo Managers remained chained to the era of the ‘Company Bahadur’.

The American Association of Zoos considers solitary housing of elephants as an act of exceptional cruelty. To chain them is to multiply that cruelty a hundred times. Regrettably, those responsible for elephants in Pakistan are simply incapable of imagining any other existence for these friendly animals except chains, cells, confinement and the prison-like surroundings of a zoo.

Given as a gift (free of cost) by the Tanzanian Government, the Zoo showed the deal as ‘purchase from contractor’ at a cost of Rs.9.9 million per elephant. So while ‘Noor Jehan’ and ‘Madhubala’ brought prosperity and fortune to the Zoo management, they could not imagine that their own lives would become an unending saga of torture and agony. The zoo managers consumed millions of rupees and spent some four years to build two wretched and miserable cells (ironically called ‘rest rooms’) to house the two elephants. The cells are lined with tiles and cement to afflict extra pain and injuries, while the area of the cell is just enough to snugly fit a restrained elephant.

Elephants live with  families and freedom in their natural habitats in jungles. They enjoy long walks, plucking tree branches and taking mud baths. By housing them in narrow prison-like surroundings and keeping them chained for long hours, the Zoo management is indulging in a criminal activity, punishable under the Cruelty to Animals Act.

On a practical note, one does not foresee either a change of heart or a change of mind on the part of the officials responsible for the Zoos of Pakistan. They simply do not see anything wrong with how they treat the elephants. A society that does not show care and kindness towards its animals cannot be expected to act humane towards its citizens. Will the animal loving people of Pakistan come forward and demand that all elephants be ‘unchained’ and moved from their cells to sanctuaries. Will they raise their voice – loud enough to be heard in the heartless and mindless corridors of power.

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Elephants – from cells to sanctuaries

Guest post by Naeem Sadiq.

Karachi Zoo elephants Oct2015Having been chained for 20 years, ‘Saheli’ the female elephant of Islamabad zoo could no longer bear the ordeal of life in confinement, standing in one posture, infections in her feet and agony in her soul. She died on May 1, 2012. The six remaining elephants, thinly spread in four different zoos of Pakistan await a similar fate. ‘Kaavan’ in Islamabad, ‘Suzi’ in Lahore, ‘Noor Jehan’ and ‘Madhubala’ in Karachi zoo and ‘Malika’ and ‘Sonu’ at Safari Park. Ironically it is not our love but gifts, poaching, smuggling and selling that forcibly removed these elephants from their natural habitats. The elephants in our zoos may well be compared with the prisoners of Guantanamo – caged, tied with chains, confined in solitary cells, ill-treated, ill-fed and emotionally battered. Continue reading

CDGK put under pressure by Sindh Government on ‘purchase’ of elephants

KARACHI, Oct 23: Taking cognizance of the irregularities allegedly committed by the city district government Karachi (CDGK) in what was described as the “procurement” of two donated elephants, the Sindh government has finally asked the CDGK for the relevant record to check violation of the prescribed rules, Dawn has learnt.

Sources said that the relevant record showed that an amount of about Rs20 million had been paid for the two elephants, which were, in fact, donated by Tanzania and no price had been charged.

More here.

Infant Elephants Arrive in Karachi

baby-elephant1 Four wild-caught infant elephants from Tanzania have arrived in Karachi, despite much pressure from international organizations. PAWS has learnt that these infants were forcibly removed from their mothers, in one instance resulting in the death of the mother elephant as she tried to retrieve her baby. In Pakistan, the import of these elephants has also not been without controversy. Read more here.

Who will bell the elephant?

Hina Farooq in The Daily Times:

Zoo director says no one ready to adopt Suzi.

LAHORE: The Lahore Zoo authorities on Saturday urged philanthropists and educational institutions to adopt Suzi, the only elephant at the zoo. The zoo officials said the zoo was running an Adaptation Scheme to encourage people to adopt and feed animals. Under this scheme, they said, as many as 18 animals had been adopted from 2001 to 2005.

More here.