Islamabad Supreme Court disallows import of elephants for zoo

Adapted from article written by Nasir Iqbal
Originally published by Dawn (Tue, May 09, 2023)

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a plea seeking an approval for import of African elephants for a zoological garden in Peshawar.

A three-judge SC bench comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Shahid Wahid dismissed the plea.

During the hearing, Deputy Attorney General Raja Shafqat Abbasi, through a concise statement, cited a July 24, 2020 meeting of the CITES (Conve­ntion on International Trade in Endan­gered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) Management Authority, in which it was held that the zoo cannot provide an environment conducive to survival of the wild African elephants.

The court had taken up an appeal moved by a firm challenging the Sept 17, 2020 order of the Peshawar High Court, which had also dismissed the case. Filed through Advocate Niaz Wali Khan, the petitioner argued it had already purchased two elephants from the Zimbabwe government, besides bearing the cost of their food and upkeep, but was being denied permission to import them to the Peshawar Zoo.

Image credit: AAJ TV Official

The DAG recalled how the Ministry of Climate Change was earlier directed by the PHC to convene a meeting of the CITES Management Authority of Pakistan during the first round of litigation under Section 15 of the Pakistan Trade Control of Wild Fauna and Flora Act 2012 to assess whether the Peshawar Zoo was suitably equipped to house and care for elephants.

In compliance with the directive, a meeting was held on July 24, 2020 in which it was concluded that the zoo could not provide the required environment.

The petition, however, claimed that officials of the Zimbabwe's National Parks and Wildlife Department visited the Peshawar zoo, thoroughly inspected the site and found it conducive and favourable for the elephants.

Earlier in 2020, the Islamabad High Court had ordered the relocation of Kaavan, an elephant, from Islamabad’s Marghazar Zoo due to the poor state of the facility.

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