PESHAWAR: Adviser to the K-P Chief Minister for Environment, Forests and Wildlife, Syed Ishtiaq Urmar said on Monday that work on the first ever zoo in Peshawar will be inaugurated by December this year.
The adviser said the first phase of the Peshawar zoo, which is being established in the premises of Pakistan Forests Institute, Peshawar over 29 acres land, would be inaugurated by December this year as work on the project was in full-swing.
“The zoo’s boundary wall has been completed while work on its overhead water tank and area layout and sewerage area are in full swing,” he added.
“In the first phase, we would keep local species and later on foreign animals and pheasants would be brought to it,” he said. “We are in contact with South Africa to bring rare animals, birds and wild species in the Peshawar zoo,” he said, adding, “it would be a model zoo in Pakistan that would provide better recreational facilities to the entertainment-starved Peshawarites at their doorsteps.”
Walking and cycling tracks besides modern restaurants will also be setup in the premises of the zoo to provide better recreational facilities.
“The zoo will also comprise offices, animal health care centres, a parking area, a food court, an aquarium, a souvenir shop,” he said, adding, “animal keepers, supervisors, veterinarians and security staff would be appointed besides creation of enclosures for ostriches.” The adviser said the zoo would also serve education, public awareness and a research centre in the province.
When asked about non-allocation of funds for the zoo in K-P budget 2016-17, Ishtiaq Urmar said, “Rs120 million have already been approved for this mega project and if required more funds would be provided from the umbrella funds of Environment Department.”
“The total budget of Environment Department in the current fiscal year is Rs4 billion and establishment of the zoo is our top priority,” he said.
PTI Chief Imran Khan had laid the foundation stone of the zoo on February 3, 2016 and the K-P Chief minister during its inauguration address has announced its establishment by October this year.
The idea of setting up a zoo in Peshawar was floated during the previous government when a group of students from Beaconhouse School System, Peshawar had collected signatures to petition the then chief minister Amir Haider Hoti to announce the construction of a zoo in the provincial capital.
Peshawar Development Authority had earlier offered to provide a land in Regi Lalma for Rs240 million, which exceeded the allocated funds for the zoo. Another site Dheri Zardad, along Nowshera-Charsadda Motorway, was also unsuitable as it was not easily accessible. Because of these reasons establishment of the zoo was held up.