The elephant, named Kavaan, generated international headlines for the zoo in 2016, when pop star Cher sent representatives to check on its living conditions after it had been chained for 27 of its 29 years there.
Now the zoo is getting headlines again, as government agencies in Islamabad tussle over who is responsible for its management, leaving neglected animals to run short of food and clean water, with many falling sick.
“The animals are suffering in this tug-of-war between federal and local governments over the zoo,” said Owais Awan, a lawyer who has gone to court to help resolve the issue.
The Islamabad High Court ordered the municipal corporation to hand management of the zoo to the Ministry of Climate Change on Friday, but a ministry official said the corporation had shut its offices and zoo management was reluctant to meet.
“The keepers of the animals are there, but not the management,” ministry secretary Hassan Nasir Jamy told Reuters.