44 Marghazar Zoo animals temporarily shifted to Ayub Park

Updated 27 Sep 2020

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Clockwise from left: Zebras, a pelican, monkeys and nilgai are some of the animals shifted to Ayub Park from Marghazar Zoo. — Photos by Tanveer Shahzad
Clockwise from left: Zebras, a pelican, monkeys and nilgai are some of the animals shifted to Ayub Park from Marghazar Zoo. — Photos by Tanveer Shahzad

RAWALPINDI: A total of 44 animals have been temporarily moved from Marghazar Zoo in Islamabad to Jungle Kingdom in Ayub Park until the animal sanctuary in the capital is completed.

Army Heritage Foundation Director General retired Brig Mohammad Asif Akhtar said that 44 animals have been brought to Jungle Kingdom, where they will be looked after under the supervision of veterinary doctors.

Speaking to the press at Ayub Park, he said that rare animals and birds have been brought to the park’s zoo. These animals include four blue and black bulls each, seven monkeys, 17 rare breeds of rabbits, four urials, five zebras and three rare breeds of wolves.

A team has been formed to look after the new arrivals, under the supervision of a veterinarian.

He said Jungle Kingdom is one of the best zoos in the country, housing white tigers and other rare breeds.

The animals will be brought back in a few months, says IWMB chairman

“We are making efforts to provide a better environment to animals and follow the directions of the team of veterinary doctors. Special arrangements have been made for them in the winter and summer seasons,” he said.

He said steps are being taken to provide entertainment to residents of Rawalpindi and Islamabad. Lawns, a jogging track, a zoo, cricket and football grounds, trail and quad bikes, zippiness and jet boating facilities have been provided at Ayub Park, he said, and more facilities will also be added as part of new projects.

Meanwhile, the vintage park has a number of military vehicles and equipment, he said.

Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) Chairman Dr Anis Rehman told Dawn that the animals were shifted to the Ayub Park zoo on the directives of the Islamabad High Court. He said the arrangement is temporary, and the animals will return to Marghazar Zoo in a few months.

Dr Rehman said that the Ministry of Climate Change has made a plan to improve the zoo, and Rs1.3 billion have been allocated for its reconstruction.

“After the completion of these projects, the animals who have been shifted to other sanctuaries will be brought back,” he said.

In May, the IHC had ordered for Marghazar Zoo’s animals, including the lone elephant Kaavan, to be shifted out of the zoo because they were kept in terrible condition. After this, the Ministry of Climate Change decided to establish a sanctuary that meets the behavioural, social and physiological needs of animals.

Published in Dawn, September 27th, 2020