FAISALABAD: Once famous and attractive, the only recreational park of Kamalia and Toba Tek Singh is losing its glory due to the negligence of the wildlife authorities and park management.
This Wildlife Park was established in 1991-92 with a cost of Rs4.836 million to provide recreational opportunities to the people of Kamalia. The park covers an area of 14 acres and was designed to promote and protect wildlife by providing them with natural habitat.
A large number of local as well as foreign animals and birds were brought into the park for which most modern facilities were provided for their upkeep and breeding. Likewise, provisions were also made to entertain the visitors especially children with swings and other facilities.
The landscaping of the park was done in a very attractive way with different types of trees, ponds and a beautiful lake. As many as 40 staff members including vets, supervisors, baildars, and gardeners were recruited by park administration.
Initially, pairs of lions, tigers, horses, zebras, mouflon sheep, black buck, black bears, monkeys, deer, peacocks, parrots, pigeons, owls, woodpeckers, gulls, sparrows and a numbers of other animals and birds of different species were brought in the park.
Slowly, the number of animals and birds has been decreasing. At present, the park houses only two lions, one black deer, one blue bull, two bears, six monkeys and few birds. Likewise, due to indifferent attitude of the wildlife authority, the landscape of the park is also losing its beauty and attraction for visitors.
The health condition of animals and birds in cages and stagnant water all around speak volumes of the efficiency of the park management. The fountain of the park is also no more functional. The lake of the park, which was once a source of attraction for visitors, now wears a deserted. The lake has now been turned into a garbage dump. Right from the entrance of the park, weeds and other shrubs have taken over the area.
The poor condition of canteen, washrooms and the plight of the offices of the park management indicate that all such facilities were not being maintained and the whole infrastructure of the park was on the verge of the collapse. Even no adequate provision of drinking water for visitors and wildlife is available.
One of the visitors, Muhammad Jamil told The Express Tribune that he used to visit the park along with his family ever since the park was inaugurated. “Instead of upgrading the infrastructure and making it more attractive, the park has turned into a desolate spot,” he remarked.
He said the authorities should take notice of the condition of the park and steps should be taken to revive and upgrade facilities.
Wildlife Park supervisor Muhammad Rashid told The Express Tribune that the park management was confronting a number of problems, owing to which, they were facing uphill task in maintaining the park.
“We do not receive the required funds to meet recurring expenses and maintain other facilities,” he said while elaborating the challenges the park administration was grappling with.
“Entry to the park is free. We are, somehow, managing to provide food and taking care of animals and birds of the park without adequate funds. As soon as more funds are received from the Punjab government, we will bring more animals and birds in the park.”
He also denied the allegations of lethargy and attitude of indifference of park staff, adding that they were discharging their duties to the best their ability.
“Also the visitors are non-cooperative and indulged in scuffles when the staff tries to prevent them from abusing the facilities,” he remarked.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 7th, 2017.