Zubair Qureshi

The Punjab Forest, Wildlife and Fisheries Department has granted the Loi Bher Animal Park zoo status.

Usually a zoo is a facility in which animals are kept for public displays. On the contrary, the wildlife reserve is an area where animals are protected from possible dangers such as hunting. Their habitat is also conserved in this area, sources from the department said.

According to a senior official in the district administration, the zoo is an artificial habitat while the wildlife reserve preserves the natural habitat of the animals.

The Loi Bher and Murree wildlife parks in Rawalpindi lacked even basic facilities to qualify as wildlife parks.

In these parks there is no perimeter wall, no water source for exhibits and staff, very few exhibits, old deteriorated structures, very few employees, no road to full access and repairs / renovations for a long time.

“In Loi Bher, there are only 40 animals of five types and 100 birds. In Murree there are only four animals of three types and 35 birds, ”the official said.

The 27-year-old Loi Bher Wildlife Park, built as a recreation center on the border of Rawalpindi and Islamabad has failed to attract visitors due to its deplorable conditions.

The park was established on 687 acres of forest land in 1992 along the Islamabad highway.

It housed forest areas, a park and a lake, and was established for the conservation of endangered biodiversity and wildlife.

“In the recent past, we had a bitter experience of the closure of the Marghzar Zoo in Islamabad by the High Court of Islama-bad for the same reasons that currently prevail in these two parks,” said the official.

These two parks are important because of their location in and near the federal capital. Residents of the Twin Cities urgently need healthy wildlife-based recreation, he added.

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