Pakistan launches probe into death of lions during relocation - GulfToday

Pakistan launches probe into death of lions during relocation


The lion and lioness (above) were brought to the Marghazar Zoo in May 2016 from Lahore Safari Park.

Authorities said on Friday they are investigating the deaths of a pair of lions that died two days apart during their transfer from an Islamabad zoo to an animal sanctuary in eastern Pakistan.

The ministry of climate change in the Pakistani capital said it had convened a commission to investigate the deaths, which it blamed on the careless relocation of animals, shoddy management and poor feeding.

In a statement, the ministry said it was "seriously concerned" about the "intolerable and inhumane" treatment of zoo animals.

The investigation comes as a video circulating online appeared to show a fire inside a lion's cage at the zoo.

Anis Rehman, chairman of the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board, a government agency, said the lion and lioness were healthy when handed over to staff at a private animal sanctuary this week to transport them out of the Marghazar Zoo.

He said his organisation was initially informed that a lion had died apparently due to "humid and hot weather" while being moved. But on Wednesday they learned the lioness had died.

"We have begun an investigation into this matter," Rehman said.

He said animal caretakers lit a fire in the lions' cage to spur them to move them to another cage but that the lions did not die due to suffocation, as reported on some social media.

The lions were brought to the zoo in May 2016 from Lahore Safari Park. They were being transferred on a court order after a finding that the animals were not being properly cared for.

Pakistan also plans to relocate a zoo elephant to a sanctuary in Cambodia after animal rights activists launched a campaign saying the pachyderm that spent three decades in the country was being mistreated at a zoo in Islamabad.

Associated Press / Agence France-Presse 

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