PESHAWAR, Feb 20: The Punjab government has gifted about two dozen animals and birds for mini zoo in Hayatabad, Peshawar, and directed its wildlife department to deliver the gift within three days.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government had allocated Rs20 million for the zoo after two years of bureaucratic rigmaroles, but the amount proved too small to procure animals and birds for it.

The zoo is being set up by Peshawar Development Authority (PDA) in Shalman Park in Phase-VII of Hayatabad.

Owing to lack of resources, the PDA had approached the Wildlife Department of Punjab in Lahore, requesting for provision of 24 animals and birds as a gift.

The department had initially turned down the request, saying the powers to gift birds and animals rested with the chief minister. However, Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif intervened and sanctioned the gift of animals and birds in a gesture of love and affection for the children of Peshawar.

Mr Sharif has also issued directives for delivery of the gift to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa within three days, said a notification issued by the Punjab government.

The gift includes tow pairs of hog deer, blackbuck, chinkara, blue bull, spotted deer, zebra, rhesus monkey, peacocks, pheasants, baboon, basking deer, mouflon sheep.

A PDA official said that they were coordinating with the wildlife department to transport the animals and birds to Peshawar at the earliest.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government had decided in 2011 to establish a zoo of international standard in Regi Lalma township of Peshawar.

Chief Minister Ameer Haider Hoti had announced setting up of the zoo after a group of students from Beaconhouse School System, Khyber Campus, Hayatabad, had collected signatures to petition the chief minister to announce construction of a zoo in Peshawar.

The government had initially allocated Rs50 million for the zoo about three years ago, but the amount was brought down to Rs20 million, as some smart alec within the bureaucracy thought the zoo project, which has enormous educational and entertainment value for children,  was a waste of resources.

The PDA, which had requested the KP wildlife department for a few birds and animals to set up a mini zoo for children’s recreation, was snubbed by the department concerned.

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