Just weeks after Kaavan, the world’s loneliest elephant, was rescued from the Islamabad Zoo, two Himalayan brown bears were airlifted on Wednesday to a sanctuary in Jordan.
Suzi and Babloo were finally rescued after the Islamabad High Court ordered the zoo be closed following years of campaigning by advocates including American pop star Cher.
“Today is a special day. It’s symbolic to close the zoo,” said Dr Amir Khalil, a vet with rescue organisation Four Paws.
Dr Khalil and team sedated male bear Babloo while Suzie was transported without sedation after a week of training reinforced by her favourite food, fish.
The former dancing bears have severe health problems and Suzi has no teeth and had a tumour that had warranted lifesaving emergency surgery.
The Himalayan bears will be rehabilitated in a Jordan sanctuary where they will share thousands of acres of forest with ten other bears.Around 68 animals remained in severe conditions in captivity in Pakistan, said Dr Khalil. He said the closure of Islamabad Zoo could set a powerful precedent and he hoped to return when the zoo was turned into a wildlife rescue centre.
“There are lot of animals not only in Pakistan, everywhere in the world in bad (conditions) in captivity the high court already proved that Pakistan could be the lead to take very strict positions to ensure that animals don’t deserve to suffer.”