Pindi’s Loi Bher wildlife park gets status of zoo

Zubair Qureshi

The Punjab Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries De-partment has given the status of zoo to Loi Bher wildlife park.

Generally, a zoo is a facility in which the animals are kept for public exhibitions. On the contrary wildlife sanctuary is an area where animals are pro-tected from possible dangers such as hunting. Their habitat is also conserved in this area, said sources in the department.

According to a senior official of the district admini-stration, zoo is an artificial habitat while the wildlife sanctuary conserves the natural habitat of the ani-mals.

Rawalpindi’s Loi Bher and Murree Wildlife parks lacked basic facilities even to qualify as wildlife parks.

In these parks, there is no boundary wall, no water source for exhibits and staff, very less number of exhibits, old deteriorated structures, very less number of staff, no thorough access road, and re-pair/renovation for a long time.

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

The 27-year-old Loi Bher Wildlife Park built as a leisure facility on the border of Rawalpindi and Islamabad has failed to attract visitors because of its pathetic conditions.

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

It housed forest areas, a park and a lake, and was set up for the conservation of biological diversity and endan-gered wildlife.

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

Both these parks are important due to their location in and near the federal capital. The people of twin cities are in dire need for a wildlife-based healthy recreation, he added.

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