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‘THE NIGHTMARE IS OVER’: The last remaining animals at hellish Pakistani zoo released to sanctuary

Bears Bubloo and Suzie were taken from the wild as cubs in 2007 and brought up as dancing bears. The pair suffered years of abuse, being beaten to make them dance.

CHRIS PLEASANCE: Marghazar Zoo, in the capital Islamabad, shut its doors… following the departure of Bubloo and Suzie, two Himalayan brown bears who had been kept in captivity there for 13 years… Both bears will be flown to a sanctuary in Jordan… The Pakistani zoo which once housed the ‘world’s loneliest elephant’ Kaavan has now closed for good after the last of its animals were taken to shelters overseas… It comes two weeks after Kaavan, a 35-year-old bull elephant, was taken from the zoo to Cambodia following a high-profile campaign spearheaded by singer Cher and carried out by animal charity Four Paws…

The pair, both aged 17, will now travel 11 hours to a shelter in Jordan to be cared for by the Princess Alia Foundation, which was founded by the king’s eldest daughter… Bubloo and Suzie ended up at the zoo in 2007, then aged four, having been taken from the wild as cubs and brought up as dancing bears. The pair suffered years of abuse, having their teeth pulled out to stop them attacking their trainers while being beaten in order to make them dance.

Concerns had been raised over their welfare again in recent years, after Suzie suffered an infection following an operation to remove a tumour… The infection left her with a large wound on her chest that surgeons in Pakistan were unable to close…Surgeons were eventually brought from overseas and closed the wound after had Suzie spent months in pain. Dr. Amir Khalil, a medic with Four Paws who has been treating the bears, said Suzie is also suffering from malnutrition since she has no teeth, making it difficult for her to eat.

Meanwhile Bubloo has an abscessed tooth that is making him aggressive, Dr Khalil said, which is unusual for Himalayan bears. Both animals are also ‘exhibiting stereotypical behavior’ indicating years of mistreatment, including rocking back and forth – an indication of both stress and boredom while being kept in a cramped environment…

According to its records, the zoo once contained 960 animals but 500 ‘disappeared’. ‘No one knows where those 500 animals disappeared to,’ said Khalil, who said the remainder were in deeply neglected condition… In 2018, some 30 animals died within months of a new zoo opening in the northwestern city of Peshawar, including three snow leopard cubs.  SOURCE…

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