Rescued circus animals to be released into natural habitat: wildlife dept

Published July 27, 2021
A fishing cat seized from a circus in Mowach Goth. — Fahim Siddiqi/White Star
A fishing cat seized from a circus in Mowach Goth. — Fahim Siddiqi/White Star

KARACHI: Several wild animals confiscated a day earlier from a circus in Mowach Goth were shifted to the wildlife department on Monday.

The animals kept in cages included a male hyena, a male fishing cat, four porcupines, two jackals, two pythons and a honey badger.

The wildlife department staff also took into custody two suspects.

“The animals are now being looked after by the staff and soon will be released into their habitat,” said Inspector Naeem Mohammad Khan, the official who led the raiding team.

Police to take action against circus organisers for violating Covid-19 SOPs

The department, he pointed out, was investigating the case and action would be taken against the suspects according to the Sindh Wildlife Protection, Preservation, Conservation and Management Act, 2020.

“The circus had been organised only for a day in Mowach Goth’s Memon Colony before it was raided. When we approached the circus organisers, the two gypsy-looking men, now in our custody, turned up with the claim that the animals belonged to them but they had no legal permission to keep them,” he explained.

According to Mr Khan, the police will be taking action against the circus organisers for violating the Covid-19 related standard operating procedures (SOPs) under which public gatherings are banned.

He said the wildlife department would also register a case against the animal handlers under the 2020 act that empowered it to lodge an FIR.

About animals’ release, he said: “The final decision will be taken by the conservator. It’s likely all, except the badger, will be released in the Khirthar National Park. It might be released in the wild in Khairpur as it’s found there.”

The wildlife department in 2017 had confiscated a pair of lions and a chimpanzee kept in miserable conditions for a circus performance for over a month in the Gulshan-i-Iqbal area and shifted them to the zoo. Both lions died there in later years.

Under the provincial law, use of animals in circuses is banned. The law also completely prohibits trapping of wild animals and violators can get two and a half years in prison with a minimum fine of Rs30,000.

This law also provides protection to seasonal migratory birds and those wildlife species that enter Sindh from other places.

Published in Dawn, July 27th, 2021c

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