Islamabad:The eight-member experts’ committee has recommended that the 25,000-acre wildlife sanctuary in Cambodia could be a suitable area for relocation and retirement of elephant ‘Kavaan’ of the Islamabad Marghzar Zoo after giving joy to thousands of visiting children over last several years, according to a press release issued here on Friday.
“The Committee has argued that the sanctuary already houses elephants and is equipped with experts, who have relocated and rehabilitated over 80 elephants so far, would be the best choice,” said Muhammad Saleem, deputy director and a media focal person of the Ministry of Climate Change
The Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) had constituted on June 9 an eight-member committee for relocation of the elephant Kavaan and other animals of the Marghzar Zoo to some other sanctuaries.
Complying with the direction of the Islamabad High Court, Chief Justice Athar Minallah, IWMB notified the experts’ committee, comprising its WWF-Pakistan’s seniorthe director programme Pakistan as its chairman and biodiversity specialist Z. B. Mirza as co-chairman.
The Committee’s other members include Khyber-Pakhtukhwa Wildlife Chief Conservator Dr Mohsin Farooq, Islamabad Zoo veterinary officer Dr Bilal Khilji, Dr Masoodul Haq of Bahria Zoo, Dr Tom Channarong Srisa of Ard Save the Elephant Foundation, Ms Nilanga Jaysinghe of IUCN, co-founder of Save the Elephant Foundation Derek Thompsan and representatives from M/o Climate Change as well as the Islamabad Zoo.
A meeting of IWMB, convened on July 13, reviewed various options for safe relocation/retirement of the elephant to comply with the Honorable Islamabad High Court’s judgment issued on May 21.
“The meeting participants were of the view that the re-location options for the elephant Kavaan must be considered after examining all parameters, such as the health of the animal, the logistics, suitability and facilities at the proposed re-location site and the agreement with the new site authorities amongst others.
“However, after elaborate examination of the various viable options the Board has decided, based on expert committee’s recommendations, to relocate/retire ‘Kavaan’ to a sanctuary in Cambodia under required due diligence and agreements,” said the ministry official.
He said that it is pertinent to mention here that Adviser to Prime Minister on Climate Change, Malik Amin Aslam, had earlier hailed the decision of the Islamabad High Court and had acknowledged that under the circumstances it is sad step to take but the right one for the betterment of the ‘Kavaan’.
“The advisor Malik Amin, however, has stressed that any proposal in this regard for relocation and retirement of the elephant must be backed by adequate research and consideration of all factors,” the official Muhammad Saleem highlighted.
He added that Malik Amin Aslam had also assured that Ministry of Climate Change would fully back and support all decisions relating to animals’ well-being. THE NEWS
*The treatment of Kavaan the elephant has been a controversial topic for some time, with several reports of bad treatment and a Facebook page ‘Free Kavaan the Elephant‘. Even pop treasure Cher got involved with campaigning.