LAHORE - Khalid Malik - Recreational facilities in Lahore Zoo for visitors as well as for the resident birds and animals are insufficient though the zoo administration has no dearth of resources.

Inadequate security arrangements not only for the visitors but also for the animals and birds, poor cleaning system, insufficient number of public toilets, parking arrangements and lack of other basic facilities have been observed as the main problems facing the visitors.

An insider blamed the zoo administration for mismanagement, alleging the lower staff for negligence in taking care of the birds and animals which he, added, were being provided insufficient and unhealthy feed. He further alleged the officials also were involved in misappropriations especially in feed theft while weighing the food stuff, purchased by the concerned section of the zoo.

He said that the staffers used to delay the provision of food for the animals which often caused various health related problems for the animals and birds as well. Moreover, the administration failed so far in provision of proper environment for such animals and birds of cold areas and as per information mostly air conditioned installed in the cages of these animals are out of order and could not be repaired despite the mercury level is increasing day by day and such negligence on part of the administration could be harmful for these animals.

The insider said that besides the zoo visitors, high ups of the concerned departments also seemed unhappy not only with the performance of the officials but also the arrangements made by the City Zoo administrations. 

Giving his version, Zoo Director Zahid Bhatti said that all possible steps would be taken for making the zoo a beautiful place with provision of modern facilities. He said that protection of life and property of those visiting the zoo was responsibility of the administration and as per the direction of the government CCTV cameras would be installed besides proper light system on important points.

Bhatti said that private sector would be motivated for investment for making the zoo as the best recreational source so that people should visit in large numbers and the revenue should also be enhanced.

The director said that different lectures about the endangered species, habitat destructions, environmental impacts, role of wildlife of ecosystem etc are delivered. He said that the zoo also offered educational trips for schools colleges and universities students about biodiversity, habitats ecological food chains and webs, natural resources and recourses utilization.

He said that zoo working with the Sindh Wildlife Department and WWF for the rescue of Blind Indus Dolphin and those posters are available to educate general people about the importance of Dolphin with special reference to endemic species of Pakistan.

Regarding basic facilities, Provincial Minister for Forests and Fisheries Malik Asif Bha, during his recent visit also criticised the zoo administration saying that that the facilities available in the zoo were not enough and performance of officials was not satisfactory, the insider told this scribe he added that while issuing warning to the zoo administration the minister also directed the senior officials of department to submit a comprehensive plan for improving recreational facilities at the most visited place in the provincial capital.

He said that over 2.5 million people visit the city zoo every year but the zoo administration informed him that due to insufficient funds, difficulties are being faced in administrative matters upon which the minister directed to submit a feasibility report in this regard, which still is pending with the zoo administration.