BAHAWALPUR: The wildlife department has embarked upon an improvement plan for the local zoo costing millions of rupees.

According to curator Muhammad Hussain Gishkori, funds worth over Rs100 million were allocated out of the billions of rupees set aside by the prime minister for the Green Pakistan campaign, promotion of tourism and protection of wildlife across Punjab.

He told Dawn that with the sanctioned amount, the zoo’s entrance gate would be rebuilt to enhance security, the cages of monkeys and birds renovated, wire gauze replaced and new floors laid out in cages and the zoo premises. Besides, the open arena outside the lions’ cages would also be improved.

Meanwhile, the zoo has been without an elephant for about 12 years and the wildlife department has failed to import one despite annual income of millions of rupees and repeated protests by locals.

Previously, the department had allocated a meagre Rs50 million for the import of an elephant from Africa, but owing to unnecessary delays in release of the funds, the amount lapsed. Later, no serious attempts were made to get back the funds.

Besides, the zoo did not even have pairs of zebra and giraffe as well as a leopard. The curator was of the view that the zoo could get these animals through an exchange programme with other facilities in the country.

Curator Gishkori told Dawn that the zoo could offer the animals it had in abundance for sale and also under an exchange programme with other zoos. According to him, the zoo had 12 Black Bucks, nine Urial, 12 Hawk Deer, seven Sambar, seven Blue Bull, 12 Chinkara, five Bengal Tigers, seven lions and six bears, including a rare brown bear.

Published in Dawn, November 7th, 2020

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