Marghzar zoo to be closed

It is to be replaced by a modern wildlife conservation centre

Our Correspondent December 10, 2020


With all animals at the Marghzar zoo in the federal capital shifted to sanctuaries or conservations, the government now plans to shut down the zoo and convert the facility into a wildlife conservation centre.

This was disclosed on Wednesday by the new chairperson of the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB).

At a meeting of the board the other day, IWMB Chairperson Rina Saeed Khan said that the board had resolved that, “The existing zoo premises comprising 82 acres in the foothills of the Margalla Hills National Park will be closed down and converted into a well-planned facility.”

The resolution further said that the facility will be re-designed to fulfil national commitments to animal welfare.

Due to its proximity to the MHNP, the area is a natural habitat for wildlife species, which would be re-designed to help fulfil our national commitments regarding wildlife conservation, protection and their welfare goals, it added.

The new facility will house wildlife sanctuaries, a veterinarian hospital, rescue and trauma centre for indigenous animal species and research on the flora and fauna of the park.

Separately, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam said that an overarching plan has been hammered out to transform the Zoo into a world-class wildlife conservation centre.

To be called the Margalla Wildlife Conservation Centre, the facility will be the first of its kind where local wildlife will be kept in open enclosures for public exhibition, education and research purposes, Aslam said.

“This is a completely new concept rolled out under PM Imran’s Clean and Green Pakistan agenda and the incumbent government’s environmental-friendly and wildlife conservation and protection policies as a part of the biodiversity conservation efforts,” the premier’s aide said.

“All available resources will be utilised to develop a facility at the Margalla wildlife conservation centre to provide for rescue and rehabilitation to wildlife species in their natural habitat within MHNP.

The plan includes rescue and rehabilitation of injured and abandoned wild animals as well as treating and feeding them for their complete rehabilitation before they are eventually released back into their natural habitats.

Spelling out overarching objectives of the centre, Aslam said it will promote wildlife conservation and sustainability.

It will be equipped with well-trained and well-qualified staffed in animal rescue, rehabilitation and management with scientific operations on the concept of animal well-being and health care.

The PM’s aide further revealed that the centre will also house an education and information centre for creating public awareness about local flora and fauna.

To make the centre sustainable, electric trains will operate between the enclosures, giving visitors - particularly children - a pollution-free experience in a world-class safari park.

Apart from promoting environmentally-responsible and sustainable tourism in the Margalla hills, he said that it will help boost wildlife-specific public knowledge and understanding.

“Enhanced public understanding of the unprecedented importance of wildlife conservation for overall biodiversity sustainability will surely help trigger a more humane vision towards animal care in the country,” Aslam remarked.

“We, as a part of the incumbent government, ‘strongly’ believe that by conserving wildlife, we're ensuring that future generations can enjoy our natural world and the incredible species that live within it,” he remarked.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 10th, 2020.


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