The inefficiency and apathy of the Islamabad Zoo administration is on yet another rampage as the staff deputed is on the verge of losing the only Elephant left in the enclosure.
Pakistan Explorer took the lead last year to bring the agonizing condition of the female elephant Saheli and was able to rattle the power echelons in the Zoo administration, pushing them to take some immediate steps to save the elephant. The efforts turned out to be too little and too late as the city lost its old companion Saheli, losing her battle against the lingering Gangrene on her left hind leg.
The only male elephant left in the zoo “Kaavan”, also an Asian breed, has now been in “solitary confinement” for the last five months. The poor animal has not been unchained resulting in deep gashes around his ankles, which are likely to develop Gangrene.
The staff present at the enclosure promptly provided the excuse that the elephant is too dangerous to be unchained, conveniently avoiding the fact that none of the caretakers deputed have the capability or the experience to handle the elephant.
An official at the zoo, requesting not to be quoted, said that because of the alleged negligence of the zoo management, problems have been increasing continuously.The official warned that after the death of the female elephant, the male elephant might suffer the same fate.
“The male elephant had been chained for five months, due to which his legs are wounded. The elephant is worth Rs20 million. It should be unchained, otherwise he could also die just like the female elephant but the management is not ready to listen,” he added.
One of the professional Mahawat (caretaker) of the animal was removed about a year ago and was replaced by one of the sweepers who is absolutely unaware of handling and feeding of the animal. The replacement is attributed to the hefty amount Mahawats collect from the visitors at the elephant enclosure and one of the directors of the zoo was reportedly said to be particularly interested in the amount collected every month.
Not just the elephant, several other animals kept in the zoo have been subjected to severe negligence, where many have lost their lives and quite a few have been stolen. No enquiry or case was ever registered against the stolen animals.
Another official requesting anonymity said there was politics – internal management rifts – going on in the zoo, due to which animals have been suffering.
“Extension work is going on in the zoo and every director wants to give the contract to his favourite contractor. Also animals and medicines are being stolen,” he claimed.
The zoo lost its most revered possession, the African male Lion in 2008, followed by the loss of Saheli last year. The zoo officials have now reported the loss of a Neelgai, and almost half a dozen animals have acquired severe injuries for reasons still not known.