Islamabad Zoo closed for good, to be turned into a wildlife conservation center


Islamabad Zoo will be transformed into a wildlife conservation center.
Image Credit: Friends of the Islamabad Zoo

Islamabad: With the final closure of the Islamabad Zoo and the movement of most of the animals to different sanctuaries and animal parks where they have started a new life, the vacant premises of the 82-acre zoo will now be transformed into a conservation center of wildlife.

Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) officials announced the conversion of Marghazar Zoo in Islamabad into a state-of-the-art Margallah Wildlife Conservation Center in light of the historic judgment of the High Islamabad court regarding animal welfare and government policy to protect the environment and wildlife under Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Clean and Green Agenda.

First installation of its kind

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister for Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam said in a video message that the wildlife facility was approved by the IWMB at its December 8 meeting chaired by the President of the IWMB, Rina Saeed Khan. “This will be the first such facility in Pakistan for education, research and conservation purposes,” Aslam said. Officials say they have organized the funding to develop a standard facility and will soon hire the best consultants to build a house for local wildlife to be kept in open enclosures.

Located in the foothills of Margalla Hills National Park (MHNP), the conservation center will include wildlife sanctuaries, a veterinary hospital, a rescue and trauma center for native species, and research into the flora and fauna of the MHNP. , explained Amin Aslam. Due to its proximity to the national park, the area is a natural habitat for wildlife, which will be redesigned to meet national commitments to animal welfare and protection, he said.

The planned rehabilitation center will be staffed with well-qualified and trained management staff, veterinarians and wildlife specialists to ensure sound management with scientific operations based on the concept of animal welfare and health care, according to details shared by the IWMB. The rescue and rehabilitation of injured and abandoned wild animals, after which they will be released into their natural habitat, is also part of the project.

The news sparked a mixed reaction, with some Islamabad residents praising the initiative and saying it would help nurture the love of animals in society and promote a more humane view of animal care across Pakistan. . However, some animal lovers have criticized the entertaining aspect of the audience. “If the facility is set up for conservation purposes, the only goal should be animal welfare and not public entertainment,” said Salma Khan, a teacher based in Islamabad.

The last bears

Two Himalayan bears, Suzie and Bubloo, are the last animals at the now closed Islamabad Zoo after elephant Kaavan was airlifted to a sanctuary in Cambodia last week. Animal welfare organization Four Paws International Experts who played a major role in the safe relocation of Kaavan returned to Islamabad to relocate the bears to a Jordanian sanctuary run by the Princess Alia Foundation.

But they were “surprised by a disappointing announcement” at the very last moment that “Pakistan’s climate change ministry has canceled the bear export permit for some unknown reason.” The Islamabad High Court has issued an urgent order regarding the removal of the two bears. During the hearing, IWMB officials argued that Pakistan’s endangered animals should remain in the country and that capacity building and training is needed to deal with native wildlife.

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