LAHORE: After recent deaths at the Lahore Zoo, its administration has decided to buy 19 new animals of various species.
Tender documents inviting bids for the purchase were issued on Sunday. Talking to The Express Tribune, Zoo Education Officer Kiran Saleem said the animals were being purchased under a zoo development scheme.
“The administration wanted to buy the animals a year ago but it could not due to the shortage of funds.”
Replying to a question about animal deaths in the zoo, she said that animals from a variety of bloodlines were being acquired because those sharing the same bloodlines had a weak immune system. “We have already tried breeding animals of different bloodlines. We can proudly say that we are in surplus with 22 lions.”
A few months ago, Zoo Director Hassan Ali Sukhaira told the media that the administration planned to revamp the zoo in order to provide better facilities for the animals in captivity.
He had also announced a plan to open a state-of-the-art veterinary hospital at the zoo with pathological and haematological labs, treatment rooms and an ICU. The zoo administration also plans to set up a web portal with data about all animals.
Saleem said a building for the veterinary hospital was available at the zoo and they were trying to make it fully equipped.
Pointing out that the administration had decided to acquire new animals because they had lost several animals in the last few years, an official said: “The zoo is the largest recreational facility for the residents of the city.”
The administration will buy a female elephant, a female white rhinoceros, a male hippopotamus, a pair of royal brown Bengal tigers, a pair of chimpanzees, two female Asiatic wolves, a pair of red-necked lama guanicoe, a pair of tortoises, three southern giraffes and a pair of striped hyenas, among other animals.
The zoo lost three lion cubs and several other animals a few months ago. In May, Suzi, the only elephant at the zoo, died. She was 31-year-old and had been brought to the Lahore Zoo in 1992 at the age of six.
In November 2010, Lahore Zoo received 53 falcons which were being smuggled to Qatar from Islamabad airport. At least 16 of the falcons died due to heatstroke and other reasons.
In April 2005, three female black-footed gray-langurs died because of cold weather. In November 2005, a male mandrill and male puma died. A female Asian black bear died in mid-February 2006. In January 2009, a female giraffe died after being attacked by a plains zebra.
The zoo was established in 1872.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 25th, 2017.