LAHORE, Oct 9: Certain amendments have been made to the Punjab Wildlife’s Protection, Preservation, Conservation and Management Act 1974 through a bill submitted in the Punjab Assembly recently, wildlife officials told Dawn on Tuesday.

Under the amended act, officials said, now private parties could also set up wildlife breeding farms, wildlife parks and zoological gardens. A proposal was still to be approved to appoint a separate secretary for the wildlife department, they said. At present forest, fisheries, wildlife and tourism are considered to be a joint department that has one secretary.

The amended act says in any of the wildlife breeding farm owned by the government, no shooting, hunting, trapping, killing and capturing of animals would be allowed. In a government-owned game reserve, hunting and shooting would not be allowed except under special permission that would specify the quantity of animals which could be killed. The permit for hunting would allow the number of occasions that would not exceed five times in a year.

It further says the government-owned wildlife breeding farms, wildlife parks and zoos would essentially have a cafe each, proper roads and forest vegetation. No firearms would be permitted at any of the government’s breeding or wildlife parks and zoos.

The private game reserves would be notified through a notification in the official gazette. The private game reserves would be allowed to do breeding, sale and exchange of wild animals. Hunting and shooting in private game reserves could only be done with the permission of the owner.

In case of violation of the rules, the licence for the game reserve could be cancelled any time and all animals in the reserve would be confiscated.

Similarly violation of rules in case of private breeding farms, wildlife parks and zoos could lead to confiscation of the breeding farm, park and zoos.

Punjab Wildlife Department Director-General Imtiaz Tajwar and Zoo Management Committee vice-chairman Tauqeer Shah told Dawn that a lot of effort was involved in getting the bill passed from the assembly for certain amendments to the wildlife act 1974. They said with private participation healthy activity would be generated in the wildlife.

They said the government-run parks and breeding farms would have education officers. And botanical experts would be hired for these parks for forest vegetation.

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