English News


High Court tells Delhi Zoo to import mate from South Africa for lonely Zimbabwe elephant Shankar

Delhi High Court has asked authorities to explore getting a mate for Shanker, the lonely African elephant in the Delhi Zoo

Making it clear that Shankar the African elephant gifted to India by Zimbabwe as a goodwill gesture will not be sent back to the African country, the Delhi High Court asked the authorities concerned to try to find a female partner for the lonely animal.

Along with his partner Bombai, Shankar was presented to the former President Shankar Dayal Sharma in 1998. The two were kept in the Delhi Zoo but unfortunately Bombai died in 2005 leaving Shankar all alone.

Hearing the plea, the High Court Bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad, while refusing to send back Shankar directed the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) and the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) to take proper care of the animal.

The Court said: “We will not permit it. We will keep it in India and take care of him here only. He is ours. We will look after him properly, don’t worry.”

The CZA and AWBI were asked to check Shankar in the Zoo and submit a detailed report about him and the area where he was kept. The agencies were also asked to check the possibility of his relocation to a sanctuary or a national park. The CZA was specifically told by the Bench to look into the possibility of bringing a partner for Shankar from South Africa.

The Bench said: “Counsel for respondent CZA will explore the possibility of importing another female South African elephant of the same age.”

The Bench gave these directions while hearing a plea filed by Nikita Dhawan, the 16-year-old founder of Youth For Animals, who had said in her petition that the lone African elephant is a victim of cruelty at the hands of caretakers at the zoo, and his condition was “illegal imprisonment”.

She had asked for rehabilitation of Shankar in a suitable wildlife sanctuary that has other African elephants and cited CZA guidelines that prohibit an elephant to be held in solitary for over six months.