Of Journalism

September 1, 2009

A lonely bear’s probable last birthday

Filed under: Uncategorized — fawadalishah @ 3:34 pm

Last Birthday?

Last Birthday?

By Fawad Ali Shah

KARACHI: It’s Emma’s 27th birthday today. The bear caged in a well, at Karachi Zoo, is trying to sip something out of an empty plastic bottle.
She is not doing so to celebrate her birthday, but probably out of hunger.
Sadly, zoologists and veterinarians predict that Emma would not be alive to enjoy her next birthday.
“The average age of these bears is 26 years and Emma is 27. Her body has lost shape and from her physical condition, it could easily be said that her time is over,” says Mian Adil, a zoologist, who has been doing research on animals in Germany for the last 17 years.
Although she is 27 years old, her mental status is that of a two-and-a-half-year old bear.
She was born on July 11, 1982 in Balochistan, but she was not given a chance to be with her parents, or more specifically with her mother. She was abducted from the jungle by some people and was shifted to Peshawar. After living there for two years, she was gifted to the Karachi Zoo, where she has been a source of amusement for visitors for the last 25 years.
Emma belongs to the sub-species of the Asiatic or Himalayan black bears. She is medium-sized, and has ears that are proportionately larger than the rest of her head. Her kind has a distinct white patch on its chest, sometimes shaped like a V and also has white fur on its chins.
The black bears of Balochistan prefer eating olives and fruits, but just like the other neglected animals at the Karachi Zoo, Emma has never really been given the food that she would like to eat. But on the other hand, she isn’t fussy and contently eats whatever the zookeepers and visitors give her.
The zoo administrators say that for the last two years, the numbers of people visiting the bear have decreased while Zawair, who takes care of Emma, told Daily Times that she likes to “remain in her cage and sleep.”
Emma’s caretaker says that during the night she is usually found banging her head against the wall of her prison like cage. During the day, she usually likes to sleep and sometimes comes out for a little walk.
What is surprising is the fact that Zawair has been taking care of Emma for five years now, and still has no idea about the bear’s eating preferences.
To defend his ignorance about Emma, he says that she has been eating whatever he has been giving her, and as she was never offered the life of a wild animal, she probably has no specific demands.
Emma is a sad example of how human beings are heartless creatures who leave no stones unturned for personal amusement. Emma has been deteriorating for the past 27 years, right in front of the administration. She has seen the worst of the human race, which has taken her away from her life in the jungle, put her in a cage, pelted her with stones to grab her attention and then left her to rot where she is. She has not aged well…her fur has shed in patches, showing her black hide.
Her sorry condition is not enough for the zoo to improve her living conditions here, let alone admit that it was a mistake to take her away from the jungle in the first place.
The zoo administration still insists that the fact that Emma was brought to the zoo was for her benefit. “Her life was endangered in the forest,” they argue, “We brought her here in order to protect her species.”
One might consider giving the administration the benefit of the doubt at this point, but one amusing question remains…how will her species be protected if she has no offspring. And even more amusing is the question that how will she have offspring if she does not have a mate.
When the zoo administration was asked this question their meek reply was the most expected, standard answer that is given in the country, “We did not have enough money to bring a mate for her.”
Emma reached puberty at the age of four and has lived a lonely life, her only companions being her various caretakers and visitors, whom she could have done without.
How Emma will react if she could understand that she would not live to see her next birthday is a mystery, but one is forced to think that she will be jubilant in her passing, especially after seeing her miserable living conditions.




  1. Emma’s It’s Bear name Ahan nice…

    Comment by Ambreen — October 20, 2009 @ 6:35 pm | Reply

    • Yeah. I personally like this piece. But in order to understand the story of this Bear fully, you should read “Emma the lonely Bear”.Unfortunately the poor bear is still lying in the Karachi zoo and no one is paying attention to its miseries. Journalism is not all about human beings or their problems. Scientists believe humans are the developed form of animals. If they are to be believed, then it is our duty to take care of the fellow animals. Lets hope for the best. Thanks for your comments and sparing time to read this story.

      Comment by fawadalishah — October 25, 2009 @ 1:25 pm | Reply

  2. yeah! absolutely Right
    is soch k badh Ap jub doure hazir mai Dakhil hun tou Ajkal l0g ek dosre ki parwa tak nai karty phir janwaro ki bat tou d0or ki hai buht kum Ap jasy log hungy jo Asi baat b sochty hungy mera nai khyal k ab koi asa sochyga b q k Insaan jub Insaniyth ki haad paar kar laita hai tou usy bari si bari chez b mamuli lagny lagti hai.In sab se do0r jakar hum Apny tehrir0un k zariye shayd logo mai asa jazba zar0r paida kar sakty hain.
    Umeed par dunya Qayim hai phir q na umeed ko aur mazbot karliya jaye:-)

    Comment by Ambreen — October 25, 2009 @ 5:22 pm | Reply

  3. Agree with you. Hamay khud be sincere hona chahya aur pir dooro ko b realise karana chahya. Jb banda khud sincere hotha hai aur doosray insano ki respect karay aur un ka khayal rakai to tab atha hai number janwaro ka. I think keh education insan ko insan bananay kai lya hothi hai aur agar wo na paida kar sakai to pir education ka koi faida nahi. Aur dusro kai baray mai acha sochnay sai khud ap kai saath b acha hotha hai. So wish keh hum apni writings k zarya insanyat ki khidmat kar sakai

    Comment by fawadalishah — October 26, 2009 @ 4:21 pm | Reply

  4. in this country where humans are not save,where they do not enjoy their rights,where they are facing bomb blasts on daily basis,where they are not sure about their lives, you are talking about animals rights…….

    Comment by mehreentariq — January 6, 2010 @ 8:52 pm | Reply

  5. humans are not *safe*

    Comment by mehreentariq — January 6, 2010 @ 8:53 pm | Reply

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