Bengal Tiger Shifted to South Africa

A Bengal tiger rescued in Islamabad over two years ago was successfully relocated to a sanctuary in South Africa this week. “Baboo” was four months old when he was found by Pakistani wildlife authorities at a vet’s office in Islamabad on December 7, 2022. He had severe malnourishment and over 10 bone fractures and has since been in the care of the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) and Second Chance Wildlife (SCW). In consultation with The Aspinall Foundation in South Africa, IWMB has been giving Baboo medical treatment and rehabilitative care including a tailored diet, daily physical therapy and sunlight exposure. 

Baboo, now 17 months old and weighing over 70 kg, has safely completed his extensive journey to South Africa. 

The tiger was transported by road to the Islamabad Airport and took two international flights and a “lengthy road transfer” from OR Tambo International Airport in South Africa to the Isindile Big Cat and Predator Sanctuary in the beautiful Witteberg mountains of the Eastern Free State Province.

Baboo will join another rescued female tiger at Isindile,living in specially built platforms and a splash pool. 

The sanctuary currently has a lone female tiger called Amber whose enclosure is located adjacent to Baboo’s new enclosure, so “it is hoped that these two will eventually share a special bond.”

Second Chance Wildlife, formed by committed individuals, focuses on rescuing, caring for, and rehabilitating injured, trafficked, and poached wild animals within Islamabad.

The Aspinall Foundation is a renowned wildlife conservation charity dedicated to protecting endangered species and their habitats. The Isindile Big Cat and Predator Sanctuary is an ethical, registered non-profit big cat sanctuary which provides a forever home to big cats in need. As a newly established sanctuary, Isindile Big Cat and Predator Sanctuary has previously rescued 3 lions and 2 tigers from precarious circumstances. 

Animal rights organizations, including FOUR PAWS, have raised alarm over the condition of the zoos in Pakistan where animals are kept in poor conditions. In April 2023, Noor Jehan, an elephant who died in Pakistan’s Karachi Zoo after prolonged illness, revived criticisms of the nation’s zoos. She died at 17 while the average lifespan of an African elephant is 60 to 70 years.

In recent years two lions died of asphyxiation in Pakistan after handlers tried to get them out of their den using smoke, and a number of white tiger cubs have died. The American celebrity Cher, after years of seeking to free Kaavan the elephant, came to Pakistan to see him off on his move to a Cambodian sanctuary in 2020.

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