Simba’s pride reduced: After 20 barren years, four lion cubs arrive but depart in 4 days

Published: August 13, 2011
The mother of the cubs, presumably with the father, at the zoological garden on Friday. PHOTO: JALAL QURESHI/EXPRESS

The mother of the cubs, presumably with the father, at the zoological garden on Friday. PHOTO: JALAL QURESHI/EXPRESS


Born on August 8 to proud parents Sara and Albert after 20 barren years, four lion cubs died at the Karachi Zoological Garden administration on Friday.

A witness claims that the cause of their death was the rainwater which seeped into their cage on Thursday but was not drained immediately. Zoo district officer Mansoor Qazi told The Express Tribune, however, that these allegations were false and the cubs were being looked after by a good doctor.

“Our team went around on a routine check-up and found one of the cubs was missing, when they went took look for him they found out that they were all dead,” he said.

A Tanzania-based Pakistani company, Osaka Traders, claims that in 2010 they had exchanged the lions, Sara and Albert, for zebras. The company used to pay Rs8,000 for the upkeep of the lions on a daily basis.

The jungle royalty and their pride were being looked after by Fawad Raja who told The Express Tribune that the cubs died because of the administration’s negligence. Trading company owner Irfan Ahmed claimed that he was the legal owner of the lions and was unaware that Sara had given birth to four cubs.

“The zoo administration did not tell me about the cubs and when I got in touch with them they told me that the lioness had tried to eat the cubs and killed them,” he said. “We received a call soon after that a cub had been found dead outside the cage and the administration was not present when we got there.” He added that the lions were completely harmless and would not hurt a chicken. “Soon after the birth of the cubs, the zoo district officer had banned the company’s personnel from feeding the cubs which was rather odd as we have been paying for the lions food and medical treatments,” he said.

Discussing the animals’ health, Ahmed added that he had been filming the cubs secretly. “The cubs had been placed in an open space where they were exposed to rain and probably died because of pneumonia,” he said. “Qazi could have asked for a medical consultant but he did not do so.” Ahmed added that Qazi had refused to cooperate with him and planed to sue him for Rs50 million.

He demanded that the government remove Qazi from his post immediately and added that he would take the zoo authorities to court. At the moment, Ahmed’s hands are tied as his trading company is currently embroiled in a court case regarding the confiscation of four lions at the airport in 2010.

Sources told The Express Tribune that the district officer had been appointed as a zoologist at the zoo 21 years ago.

EDO Ghanor Leghari claimed that she learnt about the birth and death of the cubs through the press and had not been informed by the zoo administration. She has asked Qazi to issue an explanation and has written an inquiry letter to DCO Muhammad Hussein Syed to look into the matter. The DCO told The Express Tribune that he was not so far aware of the incident.

A three-member committee led by Leghari has been asked to file a report in 15 days. The report will also look into how many animals had died at the zoo and Safari Park and why.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 13th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (14)

  • Fahad Raza
    Aug 13, 2011 - 5:50AM

    This zoo of ours is absolutely pathetic…its sad to see animals suffering & neglected by the hand of their keepers.


  • pardesi
    Aug 13, 2011 - 7:17AM

    extremely sad story.


  • Ex Pakistani
    Aug 13, 2011 - 9:22AM

    It is time we realize animals or any such being kept in capitivity is inhumane and absolutely wrong. they are not domesticated. We should try not to encourage zoos and when it comes to barbaric conditions like that in our cities then better close it down. Guys look at us we are killing each other do you think we will take care of speechless innocent animal. We would kill a child to get our hand on money let alone these.


  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Aug 13, 2011 - 10:02AM

    The population of lions in Pakistan is increasing at a negligible rate, whereas the population of the country is increasing at a rocket speed.

    Sorry to hear the sad demise of the loins cubs just after four days of their birth.


  • ailya masroor
    Aug 13, 2011 - 12:10PM

    good job! keep it up!:)


  • KM
    Aug 13, 2011 - 12:41PM

    Terrible. The Zoo administration should be taken to court. And I also agree that Karachi should send all the animals to other countries and shut down the zoo as they are neglecting the poor animals and probably not giving them food etc.


  • Faria Syed
    Aug 13, 2011 - 12:42PM

    Heart breaking.


  • Aug 13, 2011 - 3:29PM

    This is sick. Why don’t they just shut this animal morgue!


  • AZ
    Aug 13, 2011 - 4:14PM

    It is common for the general mass to neglect science and investigation when such matters occur. Lion cubs born in captivity are usually taken away from their mother after a day or two and kept in intensive care until they open their eyes and walk on their own. Here the story is of total negligence and inadequate measures and methods. In laymen terms it is the fault of the zoo administration, the doctor (care taker) and the greediness of the director to put these cubs on display in open area to make some load of money.

    Though the outcome of this story would be grim. This country, its government and citizens don’t care about human lives, why would it want to deliver its verdict on animal cruelty. Tomorrow is 14th August. The streets of Karachi city are still hostile. Where do we seek hope?Recommend

  • Rizwan S.
    Aug 13, 2011 - 6:27PM

    My heart goes out to Sara and Albert. Terrible tragedy and act of negligence


  • Khalid Rahim
    Aug 13, 2011 - 8:48PM

    Our zoo are worse then GITMO; The animals are treated like terrorists! If the curators were interested in the welfare and upkeep of the wildlife there is plenty of open land, where with
    help of experts safaris can be established.Provided the Minister concerned with the project does not demand ”Kickback” from the organization helping to establish the Safari.Incidently
    the life of a she animal and a poor woman is no difference in this country.


  • imtiaz
    Aug 13, 2011 - 8:54PM

    well just like the population animals are dying. so what at least we have democracy and “Azad adlia”.

    There is only one solution: Hang the following groups in liberty chowk:

    1) Media big-shots
    2) Politicians especially leader of big parties
    3) lawyers especially political types
    4) Corrupt officers
    5) this adlia
    6) Molvis

    Within ten years we will be on par with south korea

    BUT alas that will not happen so let the show go onRecommend

  • Aug 14, 2011 - 1:45AM

    Somebody please give the political thugs into the “tender loving care” of karachi zoo!


  • Aug 14, 2011 - 4:19PM

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