By Faiza Ilyas
KARACHI: Inquiries into the alleged theft of tusks have shown damage to elephant teeth in Safari Park, though the allegation that tusks were deliberately cut off from live animals remains unproven, it emerged on Saturday.
It is worth mentioning that these investigations were carried out at the federal and provincial levels when the chairman of the Standing Committee on Government Assurances (Prime Minister Office) took notice of reports that tusks had been allegedly cut off from live animals housed in a Karachi Metropolitan Corporation facility.
Interestingly, the alleged theft had been reported in the media from the zoo but elephants in Safari Park were examined.
According to a report prepared by an official of the Climate Change Division, tusks of both male and female elephants were found broken from their tips but the larger portion was intact.
“Malpractice couldn’t be confirmed as a major portion of their tusks are intact. The reasons of the incident may be confirmed after a detailed examination of the elephants by a veterinarian,” it says.
The KMC inquiry report prepared and signed by its own vets also showed similar findings.
“Both the tusks of the older elephant (female) were found traumatically broken. There was, however, no sign of cuts as such, as roots and pulp of teeth were found intact. Hence, the allegation of tusk theft doesn’t appear to be correct,” the report says.
Interviews with staff showed that two pieces of elephant tusks measuring 5.2 grams and 8 grams were found by keepers and were deposited with the zoo administration, it adds.
“Elephant may damage their tusks in fight and during play. They could also get broken by their excessive rubbing on solid surfaces and also due to captivity stress disorders that have an impact on elephants,” it says.