ISLAMABAD - The wildlife caretaker staff of Islamabad Zoo has been imparted training by an expert US zoologist to ensure safe and better treatment of the animals kept at the zoo.

Talking to APP, Zoological Survey of Pakistan Assistant Director Altaf Hussain said the administration of zoo was handed over to the Ministry Of Climate Change for a month as per the orders of the Islamabad High Court from July 29 to August 29. The ministry in the earnest effort decided to impart proper training by expert and renowned zoologist, he added.

The ministry, however, formed separate committees for cleanliness, veterinary care (comprising vets brought from Lahore), media, adding civil society representatives, zoo wildlife lovers group, non-governmental organisations and public involved to guide the administration for improvement of the zoo, he added.

“We in the first move declared the Islamabad Zoo plastic free and installed new information boards for the awareness of the visitors and tourists,” he told APP.

As per the court ruling on September 2, the condition of the zoo was declared improved and better than prior regimes, Altaf said. The official of zoo management said the main concern was of proper confinement and care of wildlife species. However, since taking the charge of the zoo, Kaavan the spoiled elephant was reclaimed by improving its cage conditions and with freshwater being made available every day.

To a question, he said the injured bear had been kept in a separate captivity where its health was now in a better condition. “The vets have conducted a surgery of the injured bear as it had developed tumour which was removed successfully,” he added.

Anwer Bilal told APP that the zoo had proper cleanliness and was plastic free where people were asked to leave single use plastic bags at the entrance of the zoo. “This initiative has made the people realise to avoid littering and dumping within the zoo,” he added.

Saira Shan said it was very pathetic to see the elephant and injured bear being treated brutally by the former management whereas at present the situation was quite opposite. She added that it was the only public zoo and fascinating recreational site due to its scenic landscape which should be preserved with all available resources.                

However, after the recent court verdict the administration of the zoo was handed over to Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation. The Director Zoo Rana Tanvir was not available when contacted for his version.