Kaavan and Saheli

Islamabad on the verge of losing yet another elephant owing to the perpetual negligence of the Zoo administration


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. 

17 thoughts on “Islamabad on the verge of losing yet another elephant owing to the perpetual negligence of the Zoo administration

  1. We are camapigning for Kaavans transfer to sanctuary, please see on Twitter #FreeKaavan and #Kaavan and on Facebook Animal Welfare Worldwide and Help Welfare Organisation. Join us, he needs your voice! Thank you

  2. If you do not respect and care for God’s elephants and other creatures, God will not respect you either! Free Kaavan to a sanctuary now! WE care!

  3. These people disgust me. You need to let these animals be free and placed where the can be taken care by people who care. You definitely do not these pictures prove that.

  4. This is just sick. Where is the empathy? Have we no regard for living things,Gods creatures? Kaavans cries are being heard all over the world!! You should be ashamed!!

  5. This is all about money! Shame on this zoo! If you won’t give up your cash cow at least give Kaavan better living conditions! The zookeepers are the worst animals of all!

  6. Release this elephant from shackles! It is barbaric. So shameful to your country! Act now for the love of humanity and compassion!

  7. Such awful conditions & hiring men who know nothing about the care of elephants. Just not right. GREED unfortunately!

  8. This article is from 2012. It is now 2015 and Kaavan is still in chains, living in solitary confinement under the most cruel conditions. Please join the fight in doing the right thing and letting him live out the remainder of his years in a sanctuary. Like FB “Unchain Kaavan the Elephant” and pass the information forward. The Islamabad Zoo needs to be held accountable for this terrible injustice.

  9. Please free Kaavan an other animals for the RESPECT of life on Earth.
    They all deserve freedom . What you are doing now is absolute TORTURE to them and it is unacceptable !

    1. Kaavan should be released to an elephant sanctuary where he will be cared for and treated with the respect that he deserves.Twenty eight years in hell – no more.

    1. Please free Kavann the elephant and please clean up your zoo….frankly after all the beautiful temples and things you have and all the history this kind of bara rims is not acceptable to me as a westerner or to my western community or I would think to a lot of people in Asia either , many of them will be very upset by this

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