LAHORE: Eighteen lions and tigers, gifted by United Arab Emirates (UAE) Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum that reached Islamabad on April 17, were handed over to authorities in Lahore on Monday.
Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar was there to welcome the animals and thanked the Dubai ruler for the generous gift.
Fourteen big cats will be housed at Lahore Zoo while the remaining four will be kept at Lahore Safari Zoo. With the arrival of the new additions, the Lahore Zoo now has 22 African lions and 12 tigers. On the other hand, Lahore Safari Zoo has 38 lions and six tigers.
Punjab Parks and Wildlife Protection Department Director General Sohail Ashraf said that breeding processes can be improved through these new animals.
Currently, a large number of lions and tigers are being housed in Lahore’s zoos. However, they all belong to the same family, a result of inter-breeding, which causes many diseases and lowers their immunity, he explained.
When we will breed these animals with the newer additions from UAE, the cubs born will be healthy, he said. According to Lahore Zoo’s administration, the big cats will be quarantined for a few days and monitored around-the-clock. The animals are worth approximately Rs100 million and are between one to five-years-old.
The big cats will be fed a diet of beef and chicken.
Punjab Information Minister Samsam Bukhari and Jehangir Ali Tareen were also present on this occasion.