Owner had kept them illegally, the department says
The Sindh Wildlife Department has taken the custody of five big cats that were illegally kept at a farmhouse in Karachi’s Gulshan-e-Muazzam.
Panic had ensued among residents of the area after news of the cats escaping the farmhouse went viral. They had reportedly attacked the dogs guarding the area and then entered a nearby building.
Sindh Forests Minister Nasir Hussain Shah took notice of the incident and instructed Conservator Javed Mahar to send a team to the farmhouse and find out what had happened.
Mahar reportedly said that the lions did not escape from the farmhouse but had come out to its compound when people saw them and made their videos.
According to a notification by the department, the animals were being illegally kept at a farm by a man identified as Zohaib. “He did not have the Certificate of Lawful Possession under Section 10 of the Sindh Wildlife Protection Ordinance, 1972.”
Without the certificate, a layman is not allowed to keep a wild animal. The department has, therefore, decided to shift the big cats to the Karachi zoo where they will be kept and cared at the expenses of the owner.
Zohaib has been given a time of 45 days to auction the animals to anyone from a “government-owned zoo facility, welfare organization, NGO or a welfare-oriented individual”.
The notification stated that apart from the zoo, everyone else purchasing the animals will have to give an undertaking of not breeding them in the future. “They will be provided a conducive environment as per the guidelines for the housekeeping of big cats,” it said.
“If no one comes forward, the cats will stand confiscated on the 46th day,” the notification stated.
Sindh Wildlife Department issued orders under section 10, 13, 22 & 34 of Sindh Wildlife Protection Ordinance 1972.— SindhWildlife (@sindhwildlife) August 14, 2020
On August 14, SWD Inspector Naeem reached Gulshan-i-Moazzam along with local residents, media representatives & police. They found one female ‘Big Cat’ dead. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/eSwE0lGj0r
The transfer of the big cats from their owner’s custody has currently been put on hold. On August 14, when the wildlife inspector Naeem reached Zohaib’s residence to transfer the cats to the zoo, they found one of them dead. “The reason for the death will be determined after a postmortem examination,” he said.
Another lion was reported to be pregnant after which the transportation process has been delayed, according to the department.