LAHORE, Nov 11: Eid will be a joyous occasion for the city zoo goers, especially children, this year following the arrival of 27 new animals of different species from Karachi.

The Lahore Zoo swapped the animals with the Karachi's (the latter getting 24) on Thursday under an exchange programme.

The purpose of animal exchange programme is to increase the population of certain species with cross-breeding, which each of them lacks.

The new flock of animals arrived here are: a pair of Fellow deer, two female Red deer, two female ostrich, two female and a male Sicka deer, a pair of Lama deer, two female and a male Crown Crane, a pair of pheasant (Lady Ahmersat), four tortoise, a gravial and six flamingo.

The animals handed over to the Karachi zoo are a male Bengal tiger, a lioness, Domisal Crane (10), Hog deer (six male and four female) and a pair of Emu.

All the animals, except 14-foot gravial, reached here by rail. Gravial, a species of crocodile, was dispatched by a truck due to its size.

Officials say gravial is a rare species that has been facing extinction. The Lahore zoo has three female gravials and with help of the male, its number can be increased, they say, adding that gravial species is now found only in the Lahore zoo in the country.

On the other hand, the Karachi's place has Bengal tigress and after acquiring the male it can breed one of the most endangered species of the world.

According to zoo director Raja Javed, this is the first time in the history of the Lahore zoo that such a large number of animals has been exchanged. He said the zoo did not have some of the animals like Sicka deer.

The Lahore zoo, he said, used to give a few species of different animals to other zoos in the past and this was the first time it had received such a large number of animals from any other zoo in the country.

Mr Javed said negotiations were under way with the Islamabad zoo for exchange of animals. "Efforts are also being made to exchange animals between the South Asian countries," he added.

Meanwhile, all the new animals have been put in the cages for display.

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