The Punjab government has allocated Rs 10 million to the Lahore Zoo to import two female leopards, according to a report in the local media.
According to the report, two female leopards would be imported for the two male ones. The existing leopards at the zoo were wild (have no captive breeding) and one of them was brought in 2010 and the other in 2014. Both were caught in the outskirts of Narowal.
Pairing of animals is a critical issue at the zoo as a lack of budget is said to be the major hurdle to overcome this problem. In the case of leopards, such a swift move for pairing is the outcome of MNA Hamza Shahbaz’s visit to the zoo in March 2014. He had a meeting with the officials and directed them to import two female leopards.
The Punjab government later transferred the money to the Wildlife department director general account for the import of leopards.
The officials said that after tendering by the department the lowest bidder (Rs 7.6 million) had been awarded the project and the remaining amount had been given back to the government.
Zoo Director Naeem Bhatti said the Punjab government had shown interest in facilitating the Punjab Wildlife department in bringing leopards to the zoo. He said these would be brought from South Africa in the next two to three weeks.
“The zoo will hold a ceremony on the arrival of leopards,” he said. He said preparations for the ceremony and Eidul Fitr were being made.
Deputy Director Mudassar Hasan said around 300,000 people were expected to visit the zoo during Eid holidays and arrangements had been made to facilitate them. He said security would have an extra layer as the police would be deputed in and around the zoo.
Besides, he said, the Punjab Wildlife department had arranged 25 officials to keep an eye on miscreants. Other agencies like Bomb Disposal Squad and Red Crescent would also be there, he added.
Among Eid attractions would be face painting and display of stuffed animals and birds from the Zoo Museum for children.
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