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August 9, 2018

Additional animals at Peshawar Zoo attract more visitors


August 9, 2018

PESHAWAR: The joy and excitement of the children knew no bounds when they saw wild monkeys and recently brought Bengal tigers at the zoo in the provincial capital.

As families turned up to have a look at giraffes, a new addition to the Peshawar Zoo, the children stood at the enclosure where the monkeys were kept next to the Bengal tigers to watch them play in their cage. “My six-year old son Abu Bakr likes monkeys when they jump from one place to the other. He comes here again and again to watch the monkeys play,” said Riaz Khan who had come from Nowshera.

“I had come to Peshawar in connection with some personal work and brought along my two sons so that they could visit the Peshawar Zoo to enjoy the sight of the wild animals,” he added.

Musa, a 10-year old visitor, was interested in watching the Bengal tigers. “These are big and look attractive. The black stripes on the yellow to light orange coat add to its beauty,” said his father Wajidullah Khan.

Other visitors recorded videos of the Bengal tigers and took photos with their cell phones. Among them was a group of young people who had come to see the new arrivals at the zoo.

Though many visitors were enjoying the firsthand look at the precious animals and birds, most of which have been declared endangered species, others felt sorry for these animals kept in small enclosures for the rest of their life. “Thank God I am not a big cat otherwise I would also be confined in the same enclosure for the rest of my life,” a youth said while chatting with his friends.

The zoo management has recently brought three pairs of giraffes to the Peshawar Zoo. Its Project Director Muhammad Ali Khan said that a single pair was purchased for Rs25 million and brought from Africa. “The animals were secured and brought through a contractor. The visiting families, particularly women and children, take keen interest as they watch the giraffes,” he added.

He claimed that the zoo was being visited by 6,000 individuals daily.

Muhammad Ali said that the government had allocated Rs2,104 million for the initial nine years project. He said that it had three phases. “In the first phase request was made for provision of Rs128 million for setting up and construction of enclosures for diverse animals species at the zoo,” he informed.

He said that Rs600-700 million was proposed for second and Rs1,200-1,300 million for the third phase of the project to purchase animals and make other necessary arrangements. “But later the PC-1 was revised and it was decided to start the three phases simultaneously. As per the first PC-1 the entire project was to be completed in nine years,” he added.

The official said that it was not an easy task to handle the three phases simultaneously, but he accepted the challenge. He said there were 88 animals of 20 different species and 1,200 birds of 36 species at the zoo.

He said the cost of the monthly food, staff salaries and other facilities was Rs3.3 million, adding the zoo would generate Rs25 million as revenue annually.

Muhammad Ali said that the zoo management has also started installing swings and other related recreational equipment under the public-private partnership to generate more revenue.

He said the zoo management had provided space and private contractors were installing the swings and other equipment at the facility. “The contractors would pay us Rs152, 000 per month and a 10 percent increase would be admissible in the income per year,” he explained.

The official said that improvements in the zoo would be ensured with the passage of time.

A student Kabir Khan, resident of Board bazaar in Peshawar, felt the project was started prematurely and the conditions were still unfavourable for the animals kept at the zoo.

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