ISLAMABAD, June 8: A peacock kept at the President House and three pheasants at Marghazar Zoo died because of alleged negligence of the administration in a single day. However, the management insisted the prevailing heat wave in the city was to blame for the ‘killings’.
Dead bodies of the birds were shifted to the Paltry Research Institute (PRI) Shamsabad Rawalpindi for postmortem. To substantiate the allegation of negligence, a vervet monkey was also allowed to run from its cage in the zoo on Friday, Dawn has learnt reliably.
According to sources, on Friday morning three pheasants were found dead after which the zoo’s director was seen worried as animals and birds were continuously dying and he feared a possible action from the management of Capital Development Authority (CDA).
Meanwhile, body of a peacock was received by the zoo administration with a message from the presidency that the bird died probably because of intolerable heat.
As if the day was doomed for the management, a vervet managed to escape its enclosure in the afternoon and disappeared in the thick forest of neighbouring Margalla Hills.
An official of the zoo, Fayyaz, kept searching for the animal for the rest of the day but no trace of the truant could be found till the filing of this report.
Mohammad Shahid, a citizen who was an eye witness to the fleeing saga told Dawn: “At around 3:30pm, two officials entered the cage talking in low voice that they were to remove a baby vervet from the cage. While they were toiling to catch the agile baby, an adult vervet managed to escape from the cage as the door was left open.
“The officials tried to search it but all in vain and then they ceased the search operation assuming that the monkey might have gone deep into the forest. I don’t know why they wanted to remove the baby from its cage,” he wondered.
“For the last two days, weather of the city has been pleasant and the management was hesitating that blaming the heat as a reason of the pheasants’ death might not do but once they received the body of the peacock sent from the presidency, they mustered up enough courage to make the claim public,” an official of the zoo alleged.
Another officer alleged: “In the past so many times it has happened that deer, ostrich and other animals died at private places and management of the zoo replaced the dead animals with their living ones, later declaring that animals had died at the zoo”.
Deputy Director Zoo, Dr Saleem Ansari while talking to Dawn confirmed that the dead body of the peacock came from the presidency but he emphatically claimed the three pheasants died in the zoo and the cause of their death was definitely the recent heat wave. “All over the world animals and birds die and no one blames the management of the zoo. Being a Muslim, we should believe that every living being has to die one day.
“We ensure good care of the animals here and the recent unbearable heat wave has proved fatal for the birds,” he insisted.— Ikram Junaidi