ISLAMABAD  – The Margazar Zoo in the federal capital, supposed to be model for other cities across the country, gives a miserable look with cages of lions, leopards and snakes lying vacant for last several years.
However, the blithe attitude on part of the city administration is more worrisome who could not manage to bring the missing animals to the zoo, neither by purchase nor exchange deals that are common with wildlife associations across the world.
According to a CDA official, there had been no lions since last one decade when the animal died there owing to prolonged illness, though in 2001, the zoo had a pair of lions and six cheetahs.
The pair of lions died and the CDA donated the cheetahs on pretext of lacking facilities of houses for the animals. According to the official, four of them were handed over to Loi Bher, Jungle Park Zoo and rest two to Jungle Wood Park of the Army. What to talk of purchasing the lion, the CDA could not even construct the facility to keep the lion at zoo, as in the past, the CDA had to stop the purchasing process of the animal due to the same reasons.
As another blow, the female elephant, Saheli, also died in the recent past mysteriously, though the exact causes of her death are yet to be ascertained as post-mortem report was not yet final. The official said the project of new Marggazar Zoo is in progress that would encompass all facilities and animals, which are now missing in the zoo. He said under the project, the CDA has planned to bring three lions and a pair of leopards.
The official said besides the project comprises fencing of existing enclosures for animals, development of sit-out areas, replacement of sheets at sheds, establishment of hatchery and incubators. Moreover, a security system would be installed at the zoo including walkthrough gates, security cameras. The project also comprises repair of bear house, crocodile house, tube-well, water tank and retaining wall of F-8 enclosure. Ramzan Sajid, the CDA spokesman said, the ongoing zoo expansion project comprises all features to make the zoo a state-of-the-art though financial crunch impedes the project, the CDA is trying its utmost to improve the facilities for animals at the zoo besides making up all deficiencies in it.