LAHORE: Two white tiger cubs have died at the Lahore Zoo, the facility’s authorities confirmed on Thursday, in what is the latest in a line of recent cases of neglect towards animals.
According to Lahore Zoo Director Chaudhry Shafqat, both cubs were three months old.
Shafqat said that three months ago, the female white tiger had given birth to three cubs, one of which had died right away due to weakness. “The remaining two cubs were sick for the past two months and died today,” he added.
The Lahore Zoo director claimed that their mother was not taking care of them.
Pakistan’s zoo animals have long been a topic of discussion for activists and advocates who have repeatedly highlighted poor conditions in such facilities.
Late last year, Kaavan — formerly the world’s “loneliest elephant” — was shifted to a new home at the Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary in Cambodia’s Preah Vihear province after years of activists, including pop singer Cher, campaigning for his freedom.
The poor animal had been kept in chains at Islamabad’s Marghazar Zoo, exhibiting symptoms of mental illness. A medical examination prior to his move to Cambodia indicated that animal’s nails were cracked and overgrown due to years of living in an improper enclosure with flooring that damaged his feet.
Kaavan’s sickness and loneliness had prompted global outrage over his treatment and a petition demanding his release garnered over 400,000 signatures. He was moved to the Cambodian sanctuary with much applause across Pakistan and made contact with another of his species after eight long years.
Prior to that, in July 2020, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) heard that numerous animals had died of negligence and other preventable causes at the Marghazar Zoo.
The lioness there had died earlier the same day and the lion was nearing death, with sources informing Geo News that the deceased animal had sustained injuries due to the staff’s mismanagement during its transfer from Marghazar Zoo to Lahore.
A video obtained by Geo News showed mismanagement at the zoo while the lion was being taken out of its cage. According to the clip, zoo staff set fire in the cage and used sticks to scare off the animal but it got frightened and confused instead.
Sources had further underlined how several animals — including deer, birds, three Belgian Blue cows, as well as an ostrich — were injured during transfers.
Zoo officials had admitted that six deer died during transfers; these included two spotted deer, two elks, and one Indian gazelle. They had acknowledged that a Belgian Blue cow, as well as a lion, lioness, and ostrich each had also died.
Officials had said at the time the ostrich had died due to a cloth being tied over its face.
During the hearing at the Islamabad court, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah slammed the Ministry of Climate Change for “politicking” over the animals, saying “our heads should hang in shame”.
The top judge observed that at least 40 giraffes were brought to the zoo from abroad and “all of them are dead”.