Birth Spree at the Karachi Zoo

The Karachi Zoo has reported a single birth in fallow deer, four in white fallow deer, three in black bucks, two in nilgai, one in rhesus monkeys, one in spotted deer, three in blue peacocks, 10 in crocodiles and three in tortoises.

“We have got births in spur-thighed tortoises, an endangered African species living here since 1990s whereas the crocodiles were brought in 1980s. At that time, however, the crocodiles were not paired and the zoo later got females with the help of the Sindh Wildlife Department,” Dr Qazi said, sharing how these old zoo reptiles were brought in.

He also expressed his desire to bring a pair of gavials, also known as gharial, a type of Asian crocodile distinguished by their long, thin snout.

The zoo, he recalled, was left with one male gavial in 2003-04, which was given away to the Lahore zoo, having two females of the same species, under an animal exchange program.

“Unfortunately, however, they all died one by one. It would be a great animal recovery effort if we could bring this species to Pakistan and raise it here,” he said.

According to information available on World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan, the gharial is considered to be one of the most critically threatened of all crocodilians, becoming alarmingly close to extinction in the 1970s.

“Gharial are extremely rare in both India and Nepal, virtually extirpated in Pakistan, Bhutan and Bangladesh, and probably extinct in Myanmar.

“Reports of gharial remaining in the Sindh region of Pakistan are persistent. But, there appears to be a very small number, possibly only one or two individuals. The species is virtually extinct in Pakistan,” the website says.

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