LAHORE: After the directives issued by the Lahore High Court (LHC), the Ministry of Climate Change has issued a permit for importing two female elephants for Lahore Zoo. The animals are expected to reach Lahore by mid-October. Punjab Wildlife Director Naeem Bhatti stated that the permit for importing female elephants for the zoo has been issued by LHC and the animals will reach the facility by the middle of October. Earlier, Namibia’s government had granted a license for the animals but the CITES permit was not issued by the Pakistani government. Lahore Zoo’s only female elephant Suzi died in May 2017. Following this, the zoo decided to import another elephant and a contractor was also hired for this purpose. The contractor was supposed to procure the animals within three months and a sum of Rs50 million was allocated for this purpose. “However, the deadline had to be extended four times due to delays,” said Bhatti. Sources stated that the zoo had awarded the contract for one elephant. However, the second elephant will be paid for by the company which was awarded the contract as compensation for the delay. In light of this development, it is expected that the government will also allow for importing other animals such as chimpanzees.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 1st, 2019.