Tag: Zoo

FOUR PAWS Rescues Bears Suzie And Bubloo And Relocates Them To A Sanctuary In Jordan Marking The End Of Marghazar Zoo In Islamabad

Following the successful rescue of the now world-famous elephant Kaavan two weeks ago, global animal welfare organization FOUR PAWS International managed to evacuate the last two animals at Marghazar Zoo, Himalayan brown bears Suzie and Bubloo.

FOUR PAWS transferred the bears via plane yesterday from Pakistan to Jordan, where they will find a species-appropriate home at the sanctuary “Al Ma’wa for Nature and Wildlife” – run by the Princess Alia Foundation and FOUR PAWS.

The departure of Suzie and Bubloo, means that there are finally no more animals left in the Islamabad zoo, which is finally closing its gates for good.

Since August 2020, FOUR PAWS, together with Pakistan’s Ministry of Climate Change, the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB), and financially supported by American businessman Eric S. Margolis, has evacuated over 30 animals from Marghazar Zoo, including: wolves, deer, rabbits, monkeys, and elephant Kaavan.

The two bears Suzie and Bubloo have endured years of suffering. Before they came to Marghazar Zoo, they were abused as so-called dancing bears. To prevent them from hurting their owner and spectators, both bears had almost all of their teeth removed.

The FOUR PAWS team also found serious behavioral issues with the animals. Vets had to perform an emergency surgery on 17-year-old Suzie back in August 2020, as she was suffering from a badly infected chest wound likely due to a recent tumour removal.

“After witnessing the departure of recently rescued elephant Kaavan, Suzie and Bubloo have also finally starting their new life. With their departure to Jordan, we can give the bears the medical treatment and care they desperately need,” said Dr. Amir Khalil, FOUR PAWS veterinarian and head of the rescue mission, in a statement. “After almost four months of hard work in Pakistan, we are locking the gates of Marghazar Zoo once and for all.

“The last-minute cancellation of the bears’ export permits was a brief setback last week but thankfully the Islamabad High Court and IWMB ruled once again in favor of animal welfare,” concluded Khalil. The transfer would also never have been possible without the support of the Pakistani community, as well as the financial help of American businessman Eric S. Margolis.”

We are happy Suzie and Bubloo will now begin to live their lives loved and cared for at Sanctuary Al Ma’wa for Nature and Wildlife.

Please donate to FOUR PAWS today to help them continue to save more animals around the world HERE!

The post FOUR PAWS Rescues Bears Suzie And Bubloo And Relocates Them To A Sanctuary In Jordan Marking The End Of Marghazar Zoo In Islamabad appeared first on World Animal News.

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Cher Helps Kaavan, The World’s Loneliest Elephant, Finally Relocate From The Marghazar Zoo In Pakistan To The Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary

Photos By: FOUR PAWS International

Kaavan, the world’s loneliest elephant, has finally been relocated from the Marghazar Zoo in Islamabad, Pakistan, to the Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary, with global animal welfare organization FOUR PAWS International overseeing the transfer.

Last month, the Islamabad High Court appointed Dr. Amir Khalil, veterinarian at  FOUR PAWS, as amicus curiae and assigned him with the logistical organization of Kaavan’s relocation, along with the support of the NGO Free The Wild.

As WAN reported in 2017, Free The Wild’s co-founder, music legend Cher, has been fighting for Kaavan’s rescue since 2016.

Cher waiting for Kaavan in Cambodia.

A Russian cargo plane and a four-ton transport crate that was able to hold a wild elephant are just some of the things that FOUR PAWS had to organize for Kavaan’s departure.

For FOUR PAWS, the rescue of Kaavan was their first elephant transfer by air. Worldwide, only a handful of adult elephants have been relocated by plane. To prepare 36-year-old Kaavan for his departure, the FOUR PAWS team, consisting of veterinarians and elephant experts, also spent about three months in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad. Three times a day, the team practiced safe and stress-free entry and exit into and from the transport crate with Kaavan who weighs approximately four tons.

“Kaavan quickly gained confidence in us and made great progress in a short time. In his case, it not only took a village but a whole country to transfer Kaavan to Cambodia,” Dr. Khalil said in a statement. “Without the support of the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board, the Pakistani authorities and the local community, American businessman Eric S. Margolis, as well as our partners from Free The Wild, this relocation would not have been possible.”

“It fills me with incredible joy to see that Kaavan’s suffering is finally coming to an end. I cannot wait to bring him to Cambodia together with the FOUR PAWS team.” noted Cher prior to Kaavan’s long trip to his new home. “For the past four years my partners in Free The Wild – Mark, Gina, and I – have been working tirelessly to achieve this moment. ‘Free Kaavan’ will soon no longer be just a hashtag, but reality. And, that makes me extremely proud and happy.”

Kaavan at the Marghazar Zoo

The 28-hectare Marghazar Zoo was originally opened in 1978 as a wildlife sanctuary in the Margalla Hills in Islamabad, but was later sadly converted into a zoo. The zoo has been owned by Islamabad since its opening. Kaavan came to Pakistan as a gift from Sri Lanka in 1985. From 1990 on, he shared his enclosure at Marghazar Zoo with his partner, Saheli, but since her death in 2012, Kaavan has lived a lonely existence. The zoo repeatedly made headlines because of its poor conditions.

Kaavan at the Marghazar Zoo

WAN also reported in August, about the release of shocking video footage involving two lions that were caught in a fire in their small enclosure at the zoo. Both big cats tragically died because of smoke inhalation. In recent years, over 500 animals at the zoo have been reported missing, and in the last four years alone, over two dozen animals have died at the Marghazar Zoo.

Together with the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB), FOUR PAWS has already safely relocated three wolves, several monkeys, and all the rabbits, that used to be kept in Marghazar Zoo, in Pakistan.

WAN is thankful that Marghazar Zoo will finally be closing its doors permanently and the animals there will no longer have to suffer.

Please help FOUR PAWS with Kaavan’s rescue by donating HERE! 

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

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Breaking! FOUR PAWS Rescues Animals From Horrific Marghazar Zoo In Pakistan After The Death Of Two Lions

Shocking footage of two lions fighting a fire in their small enclosure at the Marghazar Zoo in Islamabad has called global animal welfare organization FOUR PAWS and local authorities to action.

Inexperienced animal handlers had set a fire in an attempt to force the big cats into transport crates. Unfortunately, both lions died as a result of smoke inhalation.

The lions were being transferred after a ground-breaking decision was made by the High Court in Islamabad to close the underfunded Marghazar Zoo. The decision was reached this past May because of the zoo’s insufficient keeping conditions.

Now, FOUR PAWS, the Pakistani Ministry of Climate Change, and the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) are working together to safely relocate the remaining animals. There are over 30 animals – two Himalayan brown bears, three wolves, twelve monkeys, one deer, and over fourteen rabbits – waiting to be saved.

An experienced team of FOUR PAWS veterinarians and experts, including Dr. Amir Khalil, are currently on site to prepare the animals for their departure. Unfortunately, poor keeping conditions have left their mark on the zoo animals.

“Before the two bears came to the zoo, they were forced to perform as so-called ‘dancing bears’ and their teeth had been removed. Together with the zoo vet, we already had to perform an emergency surgery on the female bear as she had a severely infected wound resulting from a recent tumour removal,” said Mission Leader and FOUR PAWS Veterinarian, Dr. Amir Khalil in a statement. “We have also noticed serious behavioural disorders in all of the animals. They are apathetic and at times aggressive.”

Among the more than 30 animals is an elephant named Kaavan, who achieved worldwide fame thanks to an international rescue campaign.

Kaavan came to Pakistan as a gift from Sri Lanka in 1985. The elephant shared an enclosure at the Marghazar Zoo with his partner Saheli until her passing in 2012. For eight long years Kaavan has lived a lonely existence.


In 2016, an international campaign to save Kaavan was launched. When the court in Islamabad ruled the closure of the zoo in May 2020, it was also decided that Kaavan should be taken to an animal sanctuary in or outside Pakistan, contingent on his medical condition. FOUR PAWS is now supporting the Pakistani government with the assessment of the elephant’s health status. Depending on the results, Kaavan might be relocated to a sanctuary later in the year. His future depends on the results of the medical exams being conducted by FOUR PAWS.

“We are grateful that the FOUR PAWS experts are in Islamabad to assist the local authorities with the medical assessment and relocation of the remaining animals at Marghazar Zoo,” said Dr. Anis ur Rahman, Chairman of IWMB. “These animals deserve a better future and we are happy to make this possible.”

“Our global FOUR PAWS team of animal experts and veterinarians are dedicated to bringing compassion and urgent care to animals in need anywhere in the world. We specialize in addressing some of the most challenging and unique animal welfare issues, often times going where no one else can or will go,” said Danika Oriol-Morway, FOUR PAWS USA Country Director.

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

The post Breaking! FOUR PAWS Rescues Animals From Horrific Marghazar Zoo In Pakistan After The Death Of Two Lions appeared first on World Animal News.

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Nonhuman Rights Project Urges For An Elephant Named Minnie To Be Released To A Sanctuary After Claims That The Commerford Zoo Can No Longer Afford To Take Care Of Her

Earlier this week, the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) sent letters to local, state, and federal agencies urging them to immediately investigate after a Goshen-based traveling circus publicly acknowledged that its unable to provide basic care for Minnie, the elephant in its custody, as a result of the COVID-19 lockdowns.

“We were extremely worried about Minnie well before the COVID-19 crisis and are even more so now,” Courtney Fern, the NhRP’s Director of Government Relations and Campaigns, said in a statement.

For over two years, the NhRP has been fighting in court and alongside local activists to free Minnie, a 48-year-old wild-born Asian elephant, to one of the two accredited elephant sanctuaries in the United States; both of which have offered her lifelong care at no cost to the Commerford Zoo. Recently, the NhRP learned of an online fundraiser set up by the family that sold Minnie (whom they call Mignon) to the Commerford Zoo in 1976.

With the authorization of the Commerford Zoo, the GoFundMe page seeks to raise $2.4 million to enable them to meet Minnie’s most basic needs, including food and veterinary care due to COVID-19, which has “impoverished the farm that supports them,” and is “in desperate need of support,” according to the description of the fundraiser. Created over a month ago, the fundraiser has only raised $1,405 so far.

“We understand the Commerford Zoo is in dire straights,” continued Fern. “For their sake and the sake of the many animals at their facility, they need to let Minnie go to a sanctuary. It is abhorrent for them not to do so immediately.”

The NhRP submitted a complaint online to the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and via email to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), and the Torrington Police Department’s Animal Control Division, all of which have a responsibility to investigate animal welfare concerns pertaining to the Commerford Zoo.

The NhRP has repeatedly offered to drop its litigation against the Commerford Zoo—originally brought on behalf of Minnie and two elephants, Beulah and Karen, who have since died—if they agreed to release Minnie to The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee (TES) or the Performing Animal Welfare Society sanctuary (PAWS). Both facilities are vastly larger than the Commerford Zoo’s property and specially designed to meet elephants’ complex needs. The Commerford Zoo has ignored these offers.

The NhRP finds this fundraiser especially disappointing and egregious because the organizers and the Commerford Zoo are aware that Minnie has a place waiting for her in a sanctuary, and it would not cost them anything to do the right thing and release her.

Minnie is controlled by a bullhook, confined most of the time to a dark, barren barn, and lacks the company of other elephants.

Beulah and Karen both died in 2019, leaving Minnie the sole surviving elephant in the custody of the Commerford Zoo. As confirmed by the USDA in response to an inquiry from U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) after Beulah collapsed in public at the Big E fair, Beulah died as a result of blood poisoning caused by a uterine infection that the Commerford Zoo was aware that she had when they transported her to the venue, and sadly Karen died of kidney disease.

Founded in Goshen, Connecticut, by Robert “Bob” W. Commerford, the Commerford Zoo (also known as R.W. Commerford & Sons (and or) the Kids Fun Fair & Zoo) owns Minnie the elephant, as well as: camels, sheep, goats, llamas, donkeys, pygmy horses, ringtail lemurs, macaws, a kangaroo, and a zebra, among other animals. The USDA has cited the Commerford Zoo more than 50 times for failing to adhere to the minimum standards required by the Animal Welfare Act.

The NhRP is considering its next steps in its elephant rights litigation on Minnie’s behalf after the Connecticut Supreme Court declined to hear her case. The grassroots campaign to free Minnie to an accredited sanctuary has gained the support of Senator Blumenthal, Connecticut State Representative David Michel, Representative Anne Hughes, and other lawmakers. The NhRP will continue to fight for as long as it takes for Minnie’s release to a sanctuary where her right to liberty will be respected.

The post Nonhuman Rights Project Urges For An Elephant Named Minnie To Be Released To A Sanctuary After Claims That The Commerford Zoo Can No Longer Afford To Take Care Of Her appeared first on World Animal News.

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