Zoo IslamabadIslamabad’s Development Authority has placed the much awaited remodelling of the Zoo on the back burner after spending over Rs30 million on it. Paucity of funds is again said to be the main reason behind the delay in the project, which was launched in 2008.

Intentions of the CDA bosses can be judged from their decision in the annual budget for 2010-11 – no funds for Marghzar Zoo remodelling.

The Rs1.408 billion project was conceived in 2007 and its feasibility and designing was completed and approved by the Central Development Working Party (CDWP) next year. Under the project, the zoo presently spread over 20 acres was to be extended to 80 acres, and 70 additional animal enclosures were to be established in one year.

The project was split into five phases, and work on the first phase started in 2008 but only two enclosures were constructed before it was wrapped up due to financial constraints.

CDA has no explanation as to why it is on the low priority of the CDA bosses.

The civic agency had already spent Rs10 million on feasibility and redesigning of the zoo, and the incomplete first phase had so far consumed Rs20 million.

Former CDA chairman Kamran Lashari, who is famous for preserving natural environment left the authority last year, was quite ambitious about the project and wanted to meet international standards, with induction of more animals, expansion in zoo’s total area and establishing more cages and animal enclosures.

Consultants had suggested that in order to meet the international standards, the zoo management would have to maintain a proper kitchen for preparing food for the animals, veterinary clinic, proper cages and enclosures.

Presently, the Islamabad Zoo has an elephant after the death of Saheli, ducks, swans, wolfs, deer, monkeys, crocodiles, eagles, owls, peacocks, fox, jackals, zebra and different spices of birds.

The animals in the Islamabad Zoo continue to suffer from the poor arrangement of food and medical facilities, lack of proper administration and absence of workers and staff. One is disappointed to see the condition in which captive birds and animals are living. Ostriches were suffering from vitamin E and selenium deficiency.

The same is the case with pelicans with clear signs of calcium deficiency. Many other birds are facing similar problems.

Other birds and animals suffered similarly. All this was very unpleasant and disappointing.

It is important to note here that during the past few years a large number of captive animals and birds have died due to negligence of the zoo administration.

In 2006 about two dozen animals and birds died, and in 2008 13 animals and 16 birds died. Similarly, in 2009 13 animals and 11 birds died. In short, a total of 55 animals and 78 birds died.

And all this happened due to lack of basic medical facilities and the poor arrangements by the administration.

It is ironical that recently the CDA carried out a plan for its zoo’s extension at a cost of Rs1407.8m. According to this plan, the zoo will be extended over an area of 82 acres and more than 20 species of animals would be accommodated, along with upkeep and environs conforming to international standards and practices.

One wonders as to how the CDA authorities will do all this when they can’t manage a smaller zoo. Does anyone have answers?