The Punjab government has not been able to fix new prices for sale of surplus animals and birds, especially lions and tigers, present in wildlife parks and zoos till early 2021.

The Punjab wildlife department has hundreds of surplus animals and birds in various wildlife parks and zoos, including the Lahore Safari Zoo. The province has three zoos, a safari zoo and 16 wildlife parks and breeding centres. There are more than 40 big cats in Lahore’s safari park alone and their care costs thousands of rupees daily.

The sale of surplus animals has been affected because of the delay in setting new prices. At present, a pair of hawk deer costs Rs 75,000, blue cow Rs 120,000, mouflon sheep Rs 80,000 and black deer up to Rs 100,000.

On September 8, 2020, a meeting of the Punjab Wildlife Management Board was held after many years in which new official prices of surplus animals were proposed.

The price of adult lion was Rs 150,000, which was proposed to be increased to Rs 1 million for male and Rs 1.5 million for female lions. Similarly, the price of a four-month-old lion cub was increased from Rs 100,000 to Rs 500,000, while the price of four to 12 months old lion cub was suggested at Rs 700,000 for male and Rs 800,000 for female. The new price of male leopard was proposed at Rs 4 million and female Rs 5 million. The price of male tiger was suggested at Rs 4.5 million and female Rs 5 million.

The board decided to fix the prices of animals keeping in view the market rate, for which a committee was formed. The committee was supposed to set new prices and submit a report. The summary of the new prices has to be approved first by the Punjab Wildlife Management Board and then by the chief minister.

However, breeders involved in the sale and purchase of wild animals say the prices of surplus animals proposed by the government are below the market rate but are reasonable for the kind of species the department sells. Rather than imported animals whose breed and health are of a high standard, those sold by the government are often old, sick and disabled, they claimed.