Dr Frank Goeritz, Head Veterinarians IZW & Senior scientist, Department of Reproduction Management, IZW and Dr. Arnir Khalil, Director of Project Development of Four Paws (FP), were consulted and invited to Pakistan to visit Islamabad from December 16 to 19,2016 to assess the conditions of the wild animals currently kept at Islamabad Zoo, with the main’ focus on the Asian bull elephant “Kaavan”. During their stay, they visited the zoo three times and also met with several CDA and other officials in Islamabad.
Islamabad Zoo started in 1987 and it is located on 82 acres (33 hectares). Currently, there are 95 animals at the Zoo, with 15 species mammals (including lions), 41 species of birds, and three reptiles. The team was informed that the Zoo has 14 employees and one veterinarian. Roughly, 700,000 people visit the Zoo each year.
The two member team is of the opinion that the constitution of Islamabad Zoo and the animal management is currently not according to international standards (potentially due to limited funds, lack of experienced and trained staff).
Furthermore, there is no Vet hospital at the zoo ground or mobile vet clinic available to treat sick animals sufficiently. Staff veterinarian is not even able to vaccinate all animals against specific infectious diseases, and broad spectrum of medicine needed is not available. Only limited number of vitamins, antiparasitic drugs and antibiotics are in stock and are administered to the zoo animals by the zoo veterinarian (personal communication).
During site inspection several animals were noted having some health issues (e.g. antelopes: some were limping due to old fractures caused by intraspecific aggression/ overpopulation; big cats: lack of enrichment and feeding meet with bones ·and/or mineral supplements like calcium; Himalayan brown bear: lack of enrichment; a rescued Asiatic black bear cup was kept alone without playmate and adequate behavioral enrichment).
The CDA management shared a master plan with the team which is based on addition of 85 acres. Work on this plan started but was stopped due to shortage of money.