ISLAMABAD: Three urials have died at the Islamabad zoo in the last week, most recently on Saturday.

A source in the zoo told Dawn that an urial died Sept 14, followed by another on Sept 17 and a third on Sept 21.

Urials are a subspecies of wild sheep. Their noticeable features are their reddish brown long coat that fades in the winter, and males are characterised by a black ruff stretching from the neck to the chest as well as large horns.

More than two dozen animals and birds have died at Marghazar Zoo in the last few years, including nilgais, zebras, lion cubs, urial and deer.

Just a few months ago a brown bear injured its leg and face, the source said.

The deaths have continued even after the Ministry of Climate Change took over the zoo from the Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI), with a chingara, hog deer, black buck, kalij, peacock and golden pheasant dying in the last three months.

“The uncertain status of the Islamabad zoo persists as the Ministry of Climate Change has taken charge but the workers there, who run day-to-day affairs, are employees of the MCI. It is important that the confusion over the status of the zoo is settled,” the source said.

Last month, the Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) told a parliamentary body that it went into an appeal in the Supreme Court against an Islamabad High Court (IHC) order handing over Marghazar Zoo to the Ministry of Climate Change.

The Senate Standing Committee on Interior, which met to discuss mismanagement, irregularities and the death of animals and birds at the zoo, was briefed by Mayor Sheikh Anser Aziz.

He said that following court orders, the Ministry of Climate Change was responsible for looking after zoo affairs.

Published in Dawn, September 23rd, 2019