After nearly three years of pressure on the Pakistan government to remedy the severe conditions at Islamabad Zoo, management has finally been handed over to the Ministry of Climate Change.
Mr. Malik Amin Aslam, a Federal Minister and Pakistan’s primary advisor on Climate change, has worked closely with President Alvi over the last few months to roll out numerous green initiatives for the country. As part of that roll out, the government has agreed that the conditions at both Islamabad Zoo and Peshwaar Zoo are preventing them from performing their roles as sanctuaries and places of education for the local communities.
While we are happy to hear that Islamabad Zoo has taken on new management, we are still waiting for the Memorandum of Understanding (to free Kaavan and renovate the zoo) we previously wrote up to be reviewed and signed. Thankfully, the Ministry of Climate Change appears to be more willing to help Free The Wild with regards to both releasing Kaavan and rectifying the underlying issues surrounding Islamabad Zoo, with a state officer writing to us with the following message:
“[We are] pleased to acknowledge the deep interest and commitment shown by 'Free The Wild' charity in rehabilitating the conditions of wild animals in captivity. Minister of State for Climate Change has shown pleasure on receipt of letter expressing interest in improving the condition of animals by 'Free The Wild'. It is expressed with deep regret that you have faced difficulties in your previous attempts to collaborate with Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad. However, it is apprised that now Ministry of Climate Change is committed to ameliorate the condition of Islamabad Zoo and would like to make it a modal Zoo of Pakistan. In this regard your proposal is appreciable and Ministry of Climate Change welcomes you to work on rehabilitation of animals and capacity building of Zoo staff along with Ministry of Climate Change. We are examining your proposed MoU and shall come back to you as early as possible.”
While this is exciting news, we are continuing to apply pressure on both the board and the Ministry.
Previous communications have led us to believe that Kaavan’s release was dependent on our ability to provide job security to the Mahuts that currently care for the elephant and income security to the Zoo as Kaavan was the establishment’s main attraction. As our concern for Kaavan and the zoo’s 600 other animals’ welfare is of the utmost importance, we cannot proceed with any renovations until the MoU has been signed and returned to us.
Free The Wild has secured transportation for Kaavan and a safe place in a sanctuary in Cambodia, however, we still need your help.
Your donations will help us cover land and air transportation costs, veterinary care prior to and throughout his journey and the air fares for the vets and professionals responsible for his care. While this is our primary objective, we are also continuing to raise funds in order to have Islamabad Zoo completely renovated and its staff retrained by qualified and highly experienced experts.
Please understand that we do not condone Islamabad Zoo’s current practices and are urgently trying to have the facilities there retrofitted to provide sanctuary to the animals residing there.
Any help you can provide, whether it be sharing this post or donating a small amount of money will help our cause immensely. The more pressure we can put on Pakistan and the Zoo, the more likely we are to create a positive outcome for Kaavan and all the other animals that are currently held captive, and in dire need of care, at Islamabad Zoo.
We are deeply grateful for your continued support.
Thank you for reading.
Free the Wild