Caretaker of female elephant ‘Saheli’ weeps at Margazar Zoo in Islamabad. – Photo by Online
Caretaker of female elephant ‘Saheli’ weeps at Margazar Zoo in Islamabad. – Photo by Online

ISLAMABAD: Performances of mahouts and veterinary staff of the Capital Development Authority were questioned after the death of a 20-year-old female elephant at Margazar Zoo on Tuesday.

It is being alleged that ‘Saheli,’ the female elephant, was poisoned or given an over-dose of tranquiliser, resulting in her death.

The female elephant ailed suddenly on Sunday morning and was unable to stand up. CDA even used a crane to help her stand on her feet, but in vain.

CDA’s Deputy Director General, Malik Auliya said Saheli had shown improvement on Tuesday morning and ate some watermelons, bananas and drank milk.

Director Zoo, CDA Sajjad Shah had suspended Faiz Muhammad, a mahout, soon after the animal fell down owing to illness.

The animal had a wound in one of her rear legs, but Malik Auliya said it had almost healed up.

Soon after Saheli’s death, CDA Chairman Farkhand Iqbal suspended Muhammad Bilal, Head Mahout. However any action against the senior officer is yet awaited.

An enquiry committee headed by Member Administration Shaukat Mohmand has also been formed to ascertain the cause of death, a CDA spokesperson said.

The CDA has two permanent veterinary doctors at the Zoo and also hired services of two private consultants, but they too could not help improve Saheli’s health.

Director Zoo Sajjad Shah said the head mahout always tried to maintain his monopoly at the elephants’ pen because he earned a lot of money from the visitors by offering elephant rides and photographs with Saheli.

He said, for last several months, Bilal had been opposing the deployment of another two workers at the pen and had refused to serve the animal in their presence as they shared the earnings from elephant rides.

Saheli had been friendly with the visitors while ‘Kavan,’ the male animal, is aggressive and unfriendly that was why he is usually kept chained.

Recently, the CDA management was considering to handover the elephant couple to Punjab Government for being unable to afford their food requirement, a CDA official said.

An experts’ team of National Veterinary Laboratory has already taken three samples from the dead body for examination. It will take two days to ascertain the cause of the death.

However, Mahout Bilal alleged that the elephants had been the victims of sheer negligence on part of the CDA officers who could not provide them all facilities required for their better upkeep.

Malik Auliya told APP that high blood pressure might have caused Saheli’s death.

The residents as well as the CDA officials have demanded the CDA chairman to ensure an impartial inquiry into the incident.

A huge crowd of visitors was witnessed around the dead animal. “As we set out for zoo, I had planned to ride the elephant, but unfortunately, she is no more,” said Maryam, a small girl standing sorrowed near elephants’ pen.

The Sri Lankan Government had gifted this animal to Pakistan to complete the pair at the zoo.


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Comments (19) (Closed)


American Desi
May 03, 2012 02:38am
Instead of blaming the Mahut the head of the zoo should be punished for mismanagement.
Abdul Wahab
May 02, 2012 10:23am
I am so sad and grieved. This is horrible and pathetic. This is criminal and those who are responsible must be punished. CDA is a corrupt organization and an inquiry must be initiated to know the real causes of the said demise of this female elephant. I would request the Chief Justice of Pakistan to order an inquiry. Shame on those who were responsible for taking care of the elephant. THIS IS CRUELTY. From Talha and Wahab.(PU)
mano
May 03, 2012 02:09pm
veryyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy baddddd00ddddddddddddddddd may god bless saheli the saheli was gifted by sri lanka
mano
May 03, 2012 02:05pm
no it was gifted by sri lanka
SuperRaj
May 03, 2012 05:16am
Nice to see the human side of emotion among people numbed by routine deaths of human beings. Can this emotion be translated to fellow human beings?
syed
May 04, 2012 02:36am
It is very unfortunate but this is not very serious when considering the overall situation of the country, even the highest who are suppose to be the role model are flouting the ruling of the highest court of the country. If Pakistani people do not take corrective action now, then it will be too late as those days are not far away when Pakistan will be equated with some corrupt African nations and Pakistani people will be in the same position some very poor African people.
Agha Ata
May 01, 2012 11:08pm
That’s what we do with some one we call "friend" (saheli) :("
pardesiuno
May 01, 2012 06:23pm
Shame on CDA and its criminal zoo officials!
M Khan
May 02, 2012 05:44am
Very sad indeed! CORRUPTION has engulfed the whole fabric of our society. Just imagine the CDA did not have funds to feed the elephants??? and CDA sells 1 commercial plot for billions? where does that money go? any ideas?
SAlim Khan
May 01, 2012 10:52pm
I am so sad and grieved. This is horrible and pathetic. This is criminal and those who are responsible must be punished. CDA is a corrupt organization and an inquiry must be initiated to know the real causes of the said demise of this female elephant. I would request the Chief Justice of Pakistan to order an inquiry. Shame on those who were responsible for taking care of the elephant. THIS IS CRUELTY.
S. Khan
May 02, 2012 06:28am
People generally bleme the Government for the situation the the country - lawlessness, corruption and the like. This is not Government - this is an individual making money for himself from a Government's property. In order to improve our image internally and worldwide and to bring peace, harmony and justice to Pakistan, we as a nation have to change individully and also start questioning others for their corrupt behaviour. You start from the bottom - it will reach the top one day. We need to become honest and we need to start speaking the truth. The day we will start speaking the truth that day Pakistan will start improving - but it will take time, perhaps a generation. We must start questioning corruption and we can only do that if we ourselves are clean. Reagrds to all.
Amna Zaidi
May 02, 2012 08:07am
another sad story on the part of the CDA
numair
May 02, 2012 12:14pm
We're protesting the death of Saheli: https://www.facebook.com/events/290078061079138/2...
Tarun
May 01, 2012 06:53pm
A land of killing animals in the name of sport, no wonder people have gone insenstive for even these rare giants. Sad the currupt mahut has lead this too.
wasim
May 02, 2012 09:47am
Shame on CDA and all those in charge of the zoo.
Dr.Naeem Khan-Canada
May 02, 2012 09:17pm
After reading this sad news about the circumstances by which this precious female elephant died, moved me to write a few words. As an expert in large animal medicine and vast experience as a practicing veterinarian and the diseases of zoo animals, here are my findings. Though elephants are prone to diseases of foot in captivity, the cause of death may be due to absorption of baterial toxins from G -tive bacteria. However different blood parameters have to be examined before giving any judgment. The other side of the picture involves the tussle in between the Mohavat and the administration. In my previous job experience I have found that in one instance, one employee of the farm was fired from his job for feeding the animal sharp nails and wires, which lead to the death of some of the animals due to traumatic pericarditis. I want to make it sure that , 1-complete autopsy was perfomed, with all the organs including heart, and stomach contents were examined carefully and thoroughly. Stomach contents were evaluated for plastics and metal. Hopefully this may help in the proper diagnosis and catching the culprits.
Kashif
May 02, 2012 06:57am
Usual finger pointing by another government department. Shame on you, zoo officials, it is your responsibility to ensure animal welfare.
hassan tariq
May 02, 2012 11:32am
wasnt the elephant gifted by bangladesh? thats what 'the news' says...somebody needs to get the facts right....i cant express how saddened i am after this incident...i still remember riding that elephant almost 15 years ago a a kid.....i hope justice prevails
Scribeneur
May 05, 2012 08:16am
It was Srilinka.