Elephant unchained after one year
ISLAMABAD, Feb 20: After around a year, the only elephant of the Marghazar Zoo ‘Kawan’ on Wednesday was unchained by the Mahout (elephant trainer).
Kawan spent two hours in a pond especially built for it. Visitors took photographs and enjoyed watching the animal bathe in the pond.
As Kawan settles down into the new habitat, Capital Development Authority (CDA) is planning to request Sri Lanka to donate another female elephant to the Zoo.
The previous female elephant that died under dubious circumstances was also donated by Sri Lanka in 2012.
Thirty-two years old Kawan looked calm and seemed to enjoy bathing in the new pond.
Children and residents of the twin cities who had come for entertainment, gathered around the enclosure of the elephant and watched as it played in the water. Children fed apples and grass to the elephant and some even touched it.
A visitor, Raja Mazhar, who came with his family said: “I am surprised to see the elephant unchained because for many months I have been visiting the zoo along with my children but I always saw it chained.”
Precocious Sidra Bashir, 7, said: “Lion and other big animals are dangerous because they eat children. So I like the elephant because it loves children.”
However, Mohammad Azhar, 12, still misses the female elephant that died.
“I remember that the female elephant in the zoo was so friendly. Children used to touch it and give it money and also take pictures. It is sad that the female elephant died. The male elephant is also cute but my father does not allow me to go near it,” he said.
It is worth mentioning that the female elephant named Saheli died on May 1, 2012, after suffering severe pain in one of its legs for about two weeks.
It was only 22 years old, however, life of an average elephant is 70 years and they even live up to 100 years.
An official of CDA requesting not to be identified said that after the death of the female elephant, fingers were raised at CDA but unchaining the male elephant and bringing him back to life will restore the image of zoos of Pakistan.
“Head Mahout of the elephant Mohammad Bilal who was suspended after the death of the female elephant, was given the task to unchain the elephant and bring it to the pond by January 2013 and he did it within one and half months,” he said.
Mahout Bilal said that member environment CDA Dr Kazim Niaz had given him the task to unchain the elephant.
“It took over a month to normalise the elephant and in the end, the elephant started listening to me and now it has been following my instructions,” he said.
Member Environment CDA Dr Kazim Niaz while talking to Dawn said that that the management was facing problems but up-gradation of the zoo was underway.
“Unchaining the elephant is a great achievement. Next week we will repeat the exercise, in presence of Chairman CDA. After that CDA will write a letter to Sri Lankan authorities to donate a female elephant,” he said.
“Two new enclosures have been constructed in the zoo for Lions and Nilgai. Besides, we have two male ostriches, so we have been considering buying a female ostrich,” he said.
“Just like the animal enclosure in sector F-8, two new enclosures for animals and birds will be opened in sector I-8 and Kalaignar Valley in the Margallas respectively,” he said.