LAHORE: Sambar, a large deer native to the Indian subcontinent, southern China and Southeast Asia has a success story in Pakistan when it comes to its captive breeding, as a number of these wild animals are being successfully bred at Jallo Park.

According to experts, acclimatisation of a wild animal after it is caught and its breeding in captivity is the most difficult task, which becomes more hard in case of certain species such as Sambar.

The Punjab Wildlife Department for a decade or so had been successfully breeding these animals in captivity at its Jallo Park facility, where there are eight Sambar deers now. Some nine others, bred at the park had been shifted to different zoos and wildlife parks in Punjab.

The department officials had been catching these Sambars from time to time, many of them in the border areas near Narowal and Sialkot. The officials say these deers mostly move to border areas traveling along Kashmir foothills. In many instances, they fall into rivers and later reach these areas along the flow, they add.

Punjab Wildlife Deputy Director (Headquarters) Naeem Bhatti talking to Dawn said owing to good management and care such a large herd of Sambars could be seen at the Jallo Park.

“Acclimatisation of wild animals to captive breeding is a difficult task. However, the wildlife department has done it by putting in a lot of effort”, Mr Bhatti said.

To a question about the animal’s market price, Bhatti said it was around Rs0.5 million or so.

He said the Jallo Wildlife Park has also bred a large number of pheasants of different varieties.

Sajid Latif, who is an assistant director at the Jallo Wildlife Park, said this year some 2,000 chicks of ring-necked and green pheasants had been added to the breeding hedge of the park, which spoke volumes of the success the facility had in breeding these birds, he added.

The department, in an effort to attract visitors, has documented all of its parks and zoos in the form of pictorial catalogs.

Wildlife Director General Khalid Ayaz said these catalogs were an amazing photo journey into different parks and zoos of the department for those interested in visiting these places or conducting research on the animals and birds kept and bred there.

Published in Dawn, July 21st, 2016