ISLAMABAD: Kaavan, the lone elephant at the Islamabad Zoo, has once again been chained by the Capital Development Authority (CDA).

However, the zoo authorities claimed that they have chained Kaavan so that they can begin construction around his enclosure and moat.

Kaavan was unchained in September last year, after the prime minister intervened following criticism from international animal rights activists who had advocated that the elephant be sent to an international sanctuary.

Kaavan was brought to the zoo in 1985. His partner, Saheli, died in 2012. CDA kept Kaavan chained following Saheli’s death.

“Recently, we once again chained the elephant because we are going to repair the collapsed moat and enclosure,” zoo director Abdul Rasheed Khan said.

CDA has claimed for several months that they had decided to import a female partner for Kaavan. However, sources said no serious effort was made in this regard.

“Our bosses say CDA is going to import a female elephant just to release the pressure from animal lovers. Unfortunately no serious effort for this has been made,” a CDA official who works at the zoo said.

The official added that the authority should arrange a female partner for Kaavan to combat his loneliness, as well as improve facilities at the zoo, or they should send him to an international sanctuary.

However, the zoo director said: “We are going to improve facilities at the zoo, and efforts are underway through the Foreign Office to import a female elephant from Sri Lanka.” Sunny Jamil, who works with an NGO, said CDA should free Kaavan in an international sanctuary rather than import a partner, as they cannot handle him properly.

Published in Dawn, January 13th, 2016

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