The key attractions at Marghazar Zoo, including lions, leopards, giraffes and even snakes, have been missing for years.
Children from the twin cities usually return home with dejected looks after seeing none of the animals that any reasonable zoo would be expected to house.
“This is my last visit. I will never come here again. What kind of a zoo has no roaring lions and tigers,” said Maaz Ali, an angry fourth grader.
Another student, Summayya Janjua, said, “The last attraction died with Saheli (the female elephant who died in June). What is left here to enjoy?”
Mehran Khan, who was with his family, described himself as a frequent visitor at zoos. He told APP that the zoos of Karachi and Lahore are much better, with more animals. “Unfortunately, Islamabad’s zoo does not have these animals,” he said.
He said the zoo should bring in big cats and snakes as children are fascinated by them. He also found it odd that the administration could not bring in more animals through purchase or exchange deals which are common with wildlife associations across the world.
According to a CDA official, there have been no lions in the zoo for the past decade, although in 2001, the zoo had a pair of lions and six cheetahs. The lions died and the CDA donated the cheetahs to other zoos due to lack of facilities to house the animals.
However, the official said that they are working to add key facilities and animals to the zoo. A project being implemented by the authority will bring in three lions and a pair of leopards, the official said.
The official said the project would also add better fencing of existing animal enclosures, develop sitting areas, repair or replace sheets on sheds, establish a hatchery and with incubators, and improve other enclosures and facilities for animals and visitors.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 6th, 2012.