PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa wildlife department has ordered an inquiry into the disappearance of a black bear cub that mysteriously went missing from Peshawar Zoo the other day, officials said.

A search operation has been started in the surroundings of the zoo and announcements were made from mosques seeking support of the residents to locate the cub.

The three-month-old cub had been confiscated by the wildlife department at a checkpost in Upper Dir a few days ago which was illegally brought from Afghanistan. The baby bear was shifted to the zoo on Wednesday last.

The zoo management confirmed disappearance of the cub and said the staff had started search operation in the locality.

“We assume that the baby bear has been hiding inside the zoo,” said one official, adding a search operation in and outside the zoo was in progress.

Another official said the confiscated animal was kept in the bear’s enclosure and it was found missing on Thursday.

He said an inquiry had been ordered and management of the zoo was also directed to register FIR.

He said responsibility would be fixed in the light of the inquiry report and officials found guilty would face action. He said theft factor could not be ruled out. “The baby bear has either escaped from the enclosure or someone among the zoo’s staff has taken it away,” he said.

Published in Dawn, September 21st, 2019