The Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) will approach the Islamabad High Court and request for seeking extension in time regarding safe relocation of remaining animals of the Islamabad Margazar Zoo to safe sanctuaries till the Standard Operating Procedures in this regard are prepared, according to a press release issued by the Ministry of Climate Change here on Saturday.
An emergency meeting of the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board was called in view of the recent deaths of the Zoo animals during their relocation. Other objectives of the IWMB emergency meeting included to identify causes of deaths and to ascertain those responsible for the mishandling of the zoo animals during relocation, revisit the competence of the team that was undertaking these operations, hold evacuation until such time that procedures and the competence of the team is ascertained and consider submitting an application to the Islamabad High Court under the circumstances to seek further extension of the time.
Media Focal Person and Deputy Director at the Ministry of Climate Change, Muhammad Saleem, the meeting participants severely condemned the fire incident in the lion cage as the most painful and gruesome act used for evacuating the animal and agreed for disciplinary action and punishment for those involved in such callous act.
The meeting also agreed that the Expert Committee of IWMB will be notified under the Chairmanship of Prof. Z. B. Mirza to establish SOPs for safe relocation of the remaining animals and in this regard the expert committee would submit its report within ten days, the ministry official said.
The media focal person of the ministry said further that it was also agreed during the meeting that IWMB will approach Islamabad High Court and request for seeking extension in time for safe relocation of the remaining animals in the light of the recommendations of the Expert Committee.
The emergency meeting was held today on the request of the Mr. M. Suleyman Khan (IGF-MoCC) on recent death incident of lions and other animals in Marghzar Zoo animals during relocation as per order of Islamabad High Court, which continued for over three hours and discussed the sorry incident in which deaths of the Islamabad zoo animals occurred during their locations.
The meeting was attended by the IWMB Chairman Dr. Anis-ur-Rahman, Mahor of ICT Metropolitan Corporation, Inspector General of Pakistan (Forest) at the Ministry of Climate Change, the IWMB’s non-official member and noted biodiversity specialist Prof. Z. B. Mirza, Himalayan Wildlife Foundation’s senior representative Mr. Vaqar Zakaria and Mr. Deputy Commissioner Islamabad Muhammad Hamza Shafqaat.
Meanwhile, Special Assistant to Prime Minister Malik Amin Aslam has expressed his grave concern and shock of inhuman and callous treatment meted out to the Zoo animals during their relocation to safer places, which led to killing of the Zoo animals.
“What happened to the lions during relocation is horrific and shocking. An enquiry committee has been set up to ascertain causes and responsibility for this criminal negligence and gross mismanagement which will not go unpunished,” Malik Amin Aslam said.
It is pertinent to mention here that the Ministry of Climate Change also set up a high-powered inquiry committee to probe into the deaths of animals of Islamabad Margazar Zoo and submit its report within one week’s time.
The inquiry committee, to be chaired by the Additional Secretary of the Climate Change Ministry Mr. Joudat Ayaz, will look into the causes of the recent deaths of the Zoo animals including lions, ostrich birds and other animals, if any,
The inquiry body would also fix the responsibility for deaths of the animals and propose disciplinary actions to be taken against those found responsible for the deaths.