Punjab Wildlife Management Board and zoos across the Punjab province appear to be at odds over the pricing of surplus animals at the safari parks and breeding centres.

In a meeting that was held in September 2020, and after an unexplained hiatus of nearly two decades, the proposed price for a number of surplus animals was rejected by the Board. Subsequently, the breeding centres, zoos and safari parks were directed to propose prices that match the prevailing rates in the market.

The Punjab Wildlife department has not been able to sell surplus animals due to the disagreement on the pricing. As a result, zoos, safari parks and breeding centres will continue to bear the cost of keeping the animals until the news prices are determined.

During the meeting on September 16, the Board proposed that all prices must be increased. In some cases, the authorities were asked to double the prices of animals.

Peacocks, that were previously valued at Rs 3,000 will now be sold for Rs. 6,000.

The Green Java, which was previously priced at Rs. 40,000 will now be sold for Rs. 60,000.

Prices of black deer were also increased from Rs. 100,000 to Rs. 300,000. Other special breeds in the same category will now be sold at Rs. 150,000 instead of Rs. 75,000.

The chinkara, known as the Indian gazelle, also has a brand news price tag, which is Rs. 150,000 more than its previous value of Rs. 100,000.

The mouflon, a wild sheep native to the Caspian region from eastern Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan to Iran, will now be sold for Rs. 250,000 and the urial, which is known for its relatively small horns, and is native to central Asia, will sell for Rs. 200,000 to 500,000 per pair.

In the top tier, the sale of lion cubs will have a new price tag. They will now sell for Rs. 300,000 to Rs. 2.5 million per pair. In some cases, the pair might cost the buyer a whopping Rs. 1 million.

Listed as a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a global authority that helps the world find pragmatic solutions to the most pressing environment challenges, the sambar is priced at Rs. 2.5 million. Whereas a pair of red deer will cost up to Rs. 9 million. Similarly, a cheetah will cost up to Rs. 9 million and tiger Rs. 9.5 million per pair.

According to officials familiar with the meeting, market prices are much lower than the proposed rates. While dozens of purchase applications are waiting to be considered the department still hasn’t been able to finalize the prices. Experts believe the growing population of animals at the zoos and breeding centres may be dangerous. Animals are likely to attack each other and may even die due to the outbreak of different diseases at the start of winter.