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This is Daboo.

He's a two-and-a-half-month-old baby Asian Black Bear living in Lahore Zoo, Pakistan.

Just weeks after he was born, his mother was killed by poachers in Azad Kashmir Neelam Valley, after which they took Daboo to sell to the highest bidder. While in their custody, the poachers clipped Daboo's ears and glued them in place - a traumatising experience that left the bear with serious infections in both ears.

Thankfully, the founder of Critters Ark Welfare, Anila Umair, became aware of Daboo and, through her organisation, raised the funds to buy him. While this isn't generally good practice, as those same poachers will likely repeat this exercise, Daboo was taken into safety and given a good temporary refuge as Anila made arrangements for his forever home.

Shortly after treating Daboo's wounds, the Punjab Wildlife Department confiscated him from Anila - as is the law; one cannot legally own an Asian Black Bear as they are protected under Pakistani law - and transferred to Lahore Zoo.

On 30 May 2021, Anila reached out to Free The Wild for assistance. Lahore Zoo is not equipped to provide Daboo with the enrichment, social engagement, nutrition and space he needs, but Islamabad Wildlife Management Board is.

As some of you may recall, Islamabad Wildlife Management Board was one of the organisations that helped us free Kaavan from Islamabad Zoo.

Director and FTW Trustee, Anika Sleem took the reins. We reached out to Pakistani Ministers and arranged for the most pertinent media on the ground, including BBC Urdu, to be made aware of Daboo's case. His story was broadcast to thousands of concerned Pakistanis who, together with Anila Umair, took to Twitter to launch a social tsunami for Daboo.

We spoke with Kiran Saleem, Deputy Director at Lahore Zoo, who was able to appreciate the situation and, thanks to the legislative lawyers working for his freedom and all those supporting Daboo's case, Mrs Saleem was able to confirm the Zoo's agreement to release the little black bear today - 2 June 2021!

Daboo is now set to be transferred to Islamabad Wildlife Management Board, where he'll receive appropriate care, attention and space.

We'd like to thank Anila Umair for her courage and persistence, Lahore Zoo Deputy Director, Kiran Saleem for her understanding, the Pakistani Media - Rauf Klasra and Amir Mateen in particular - for their quick action and powerful punchlines, the lawyers working for Daboo's freedom, Animal Justice and Welfare for creating Daboo's petition and the Pakistani public for their support.

Please help us do more like this. There are thousands of animals suffering in hundreds of establishments across the world, needlessly and tirelessly.

With your support, we can track these animals down and arrange proper long-term care, medical treatment and even total liberation where the opportunities exist.

Thank you all!

Team Free The Wild 


Confirmation of Daboo's release and transfer request from Magistrate, Ahmed Shahzad Gondal - dated 02 June 2021

Image by Karl Anderson
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