Bubloo and Suzie were taken overseas after being kept there in captivity for 13 years.
A zoo in Pakistan shut its door following the departure of its animals to shelters, early last month. Marghazar Zoo situated in the capital of Islamabad once housed the "world's loneliest elephant" and now it has closed for good after two Himalayan brown bears named Bubloo and Suzie were taken overseas after being kept there in captivity for 13 years. The bears, both aged 17, set out on an 11-hour journey to reach a shelter operated by the Princess Alia Foundation, which was founded by King Hussein's eldest daughter, Princess Alia bint Hussein, in Jordan.
"The Islamabad zoo is now completely closed for both public and officials," revealed Saleem Shaikh, a spokesman for Pakistan's ministry of climate change according to Daily Mail. "Both the bears will be flown to a sanctuary in Jordan." This delightful news comes weeks after a 35-year-old elephant Kaavan was freed from the zoo and taken to Cambodia following an extensive initiative spearheaded by singer Cher and animal charity, Four Paws. Established in 1978, the Islamabad zoo became a home for indigenous species. However, it eventually became a tourist attraction and started taking in animals from all over the world that was often donated as a gift.
Kaavan too arrived at the zoo in 1985 after being presented as a gift to the former dictator General Zia-ul-Haq by the then-leader of Sri Lanka. The animal was taken away from his mother when he was merely a baby and spent most of his life in captivity, according to The Week. Unfortunately, his living conditions deteriorated as zookeepers chained him after witnessing his increasingly violent tendencies. Then in 2012, his mate Saheli tragically passed away and Kaavan became more distressed. Elephants are known to be social creatures who need company but despite this, no other elephant was brought in to given him company and thus he was regarded as Pakistan's loneliest elephant, according to The Guardian.
As for the bear pair, both arrived at the zoo in 2007 when they were four. They were snatched from the wild as cubs and brought up as dancing bears. Both suffered harrowing torture for years, as their teeth were pulled out to stop them from attacking trainers and ruthlessly beaten so they dance and fetch the Islamabad zoo money. In recent years, concerns regarding the welfare of these bears were raised after Suzie suffered an infection following an operation to remove a tumor. The infection had resulted in a large wound on her chest and surgeons in Pakistan were unable to close it.
Eventually, medical experts were brought in from overseas to close it up but not before Suzie suffered for months in pain. Dr. Amir Khalil, a medical professional working with Four Paws, has been treating both bears. He revealed that Suzie is also suffering from malnutrition as she has no teeth, making it challenging for her to eat. Babloo on the other hand has become aggressive, which per Dr. Khalil is unusual behavior for Himalayan bears, due to an abscessed tooth. They are also exhibiting "stereotypical behavior" which is an indication of the years of mistreatment, including rocking back and forth due to street or boredom possibility because they were kept in a cramped environment.
Dr. Khalil first visited paid a visit to the zoo in 2016 and described the condition of the animals as "poor." A number of recommendations were made by him at the time but he says all of them were ignored by the zoo officials. Apparently, there were 960 animals in the zoo at one point but 500 "disappeared" mysteriously. "No one knows where those 500 animals disappeared to," he said. Thankfully the Judges in Pakistan eventually decided that the remainder of the animals should be taken abroad to be cared for properly. Two lions and one ostrich died during the relocation and authorities now plan on expanding the zoo in a wildlife conservation center.