The canal water supply for animals at the Bahawalpur Zoo has been stopped for almost two months now, a Zoo official seeking anonymity told The Express Tribune.
There is a severe shortage of water for animals at the zoo, he said. Ponds built for birds and animals, to keep cool in the scorching summer heat, are mostly dry.
There is load shedding for up to 18 hours a day and the zoo gets canal water for only 72 hours per week, said the official. Many birds and animals have gotten ill and could die.
The canal water reaches the zoo through Dring Stadium, he said. However, the stadium’s administration has been directing the water, meant for the zoo, to the stadium grounds, he alleged.
Divisional Sports Officer Muhammad Maqsood said that the canal water supply had been disrupted due to the construction of houses near the canal.
Nadeem Qureshi, appointed curator on May 28, said the canal lining had been damaged due to some construction projects near it.
He said the lining was being repaired and full supply of canal water would be restored soon. In the meantime, Qureshi said, they were using sewer water, to water the zoo grounds.
Overcharging for tickets
Several visitors at the zoo complained of overcharging at the ticket counters.
They said the zoo’s contractor was charging Rs25 per ticket, while the official rates were Rs6 for adults and Rs4 for children.
The ticket counter staff denied the allegation and said they sold tickets at the approved rates.
Qureshi said he had received some complaints in this regard and had contacted the authorities about it.
Where are the lions?
The Bahawalpur Zoo used to be the largest breeding centre for lions in the country, however only three cubs were born this year in May.
Qureshi said the zoo used a room cooler to keep the cubs cool.
He said the zoo was home to 135 species of animals and 585 bird species.
The Bahawalpur Zoo was founded by Nawab Sir Sadiq Khan Abbasi in 1942. It is laid on 25 acres.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 9th, 2013.