Schoolchildren celebrated the first birthday of six cubs born to two Brazilian tigresses at the Jungle Kingdom in Ayub National Park here on Thursday. The park administration had arranged for a cake for the cubs through the Army Heritage Foundation.
The Army Public School students were ecstatic as they cut the cake and sang songs for the cubs. Their visit and swing rides were free-of-charge. Colonel Muhammad Tayyab, the zoo in-charge, said, “It’s considered difficult to breed wild lions and tigers in captivity. But we not only managed to do that but also have been rearing the cubs for a year.”
On May 3 last year Poly, a tigress, bore two pairs of cubs. Before that in February, another tigress, Sasha, also gave birth to a pair of cubs, said Col Tayyab. The tigresses were brought from Brazil to breed with Umeed, a wild tiger who was left alone after a tigress died in 2004.
Col Tayyab said Jungle Kingdom is the biggest zoo in the twin cities. Two other zoos managed by CDA in Islamabad and Bahria Town in Rawalpindi did not have as many animals and birds. The zoo currently has 140 animals of 18 species and 500 birds of 60 species, he said. Funds for the zoo’s upkeep are generated through ticket sales, he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 4th, 2012.