Massive corruption and nepotism threatening Lives of poor elephants at Islamabad Zoo
After the suspension Mahaut (Elephant caretaker) who has been working for the last 20 years broke the headlines a month ago, the authorities at the Marghazar Zoo in Islamabad have refused to reinstate the suspended employ Muhammad Bilal, apparently the only
trained Mahaut who can handle the two elephants at the facility. Bilal was suspended without any prior show cause notice, as per the rule of law and is still lurking in shadows, uncertain about his future.
For Bilal, there might be a strong possibility that he will able to find some other source of income particularly considering the fact that he comes from a long lineage of Mahauts, the two elephants at the facility have now lost all hope of surviving the
The male elephant nick-named “Kawan” has not been unchained or taken out of his enclosure for the last three months and the poor animal has been standing at one place with heavy shackles tied on all four of his feet. Kawan has been one of the major attractions
for the visitors and tourists who flock the elephant enclosure for a visit of the giant Pachyderm.
But the story does not end with Kawan alone. The smaller baby elephant which was brought some three years ago has a gorier story to tell.
The young female nick-named “Saheli” has developed gangrene in the right-hind foot and was seen limping in the enclosure virtually waiting for the deadly disease to sweep through the rest of the body causing a possible death in near future.
Staff present at the enclosure blamed the corrupt practices of the zoo officials especially Director Zoo operations Sajjad who has suspended the old Mahuat with citing any reason. Sajjad inducted several of his “favourites” for the job who have no knowledge
or training of handling the giant animals.
The entrance ticket charged from the visitors is a meager six rupees for the adults but the ticket collectors refuse to give the tickets even on demand, although they eagerly collect the cost of them. Rampant corruption and negligence on part of the authorities
have put the lives of many of the precious and rare animals in jeopardy. There have also been reports of smuggling and thefts where the rare breeds of animals is stolen in the dark of the night and shifted to the private zoos of the rich and affluent.