Bahrain plans legal action against circus
Manama, March 22, 2014
Bahrain authorities could take legal action against a travelling circus for abandoning six lions and two tigers at a scrapyard in the kingdom.
Police patrols were yesterday stationed at the scrapyard in Salmabad to secure the cats, which were left behind by Troy International Circus.
Authorities initially planned to transport the animals to Al Areen Wildlife Park, following a four-hour rescue operation that started at 11pm on Thursday night.
However, logistical problems prevented them from carrying out the plans, but park officials told the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication, the animals were being closely monitored.
"The animals are in good condition and since they are circus animals they are used to cages," said Al Areen deputy general co-ordinator Dr Adel Al Awadhi.
"After morning prayers yesterday, we had a veterinary team inspect the animals who are trained not to harm anyone and found them in excellent health and shape.
"The (scrapyard) owner has been made to sign documents with the police that he would be responsible for the safety of the animals and others nearby, which he did.
"We got the number of the woman who owns the circus and called her. She was in Kuwait, making arrangements for their next show and she explained that they didn't find a special jet to move the animals, but will do so this week."
Al Awadhi said authorities were seeking legal action against the circus owner, who has been given until tomorrow to provide travel bookings for the animals.
"The circus owner could have easily alerted us that they had issues and that there were problems moving the animals because we would have taken care of them until arrangements are made to move them to Kuwait," he explained.
"I contacted special forklift companies due to the size of the animals and cages, but they were not open on Friday and most were busy with the Animal Production Show at the (Bahrain International) Endurance Village.
"For that we opted to keep the animals under careful watch at their current location, until they are moved to a plane - as promised by the circus owner - otherwise we will take them to Al Areen.
"Again, we assure the public the animals are not wild and are trained to deal with people, so there is no harm or cruelty here just misconduct in procedures," he added.
Authorities intervened following urgent directives from His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa.
The circus, which admitted to the GDN the animals belonged to them, left Bahrain in January after spending a month at Adhari Park, despite concern from animal rights activists that it was the same travelling circus that abandoned a group of wild cats in 2011, resulting in the death of a lion cub.
The animals were discovered in small unsecured cages by workers who alerted the GDN last Wednesday, prompting concern about public safety and the welfare of the cats.
In March 2011, a diseased and seriously ill cub was taken from circus owners by concerned animal lovers and it was cared for by members of the Bahrain Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
It died a few months later and the remaining lions, believed to be the same ones found in Salmabad, were then shipped to Oman by the circus owners.
At the time, the Culture Ministry told the BSPCA they would not allow a circus back in Bahrain unless they had seen all the animals' import and export certificates.-TradeArabia News Service