Injured ostrich at zoo dies ISLAMABAD: Three months after the death of her partner, the injured female ostrich at Marghazar Zoo has died, as has a barking deer, which makes for a total of eight animals that have died at the zoo this year.
The ostrich died on Tuesday while the barking deer died on Aug 15, reportedly due to negligence by the zoo staff.
The female ostrich had developed an infection in her leg and instead of giving her proper treatment, the zoo administration confined her to a small room in a corner of her enclosure where the zoo’s veterinary doctor, Bilal Khilji, was treating her. The barking deer also died of an injury.
Capital Development Authority’s (CDA) media director Malik Saleem said inquiries will be held into the deaths and if zoo officials are found to have been negligent, strict action will be taken against them.
He said the ostrich had been the zoo’s own and that the barking deer had been adopted after he was hit by a car near the zoo.
“We tried our best to save him,” Mr Salim said.
According to sources, the zoo’s lion also has injuries to his neck and that he has been receiving treatment for a month. However, the director media denied these claims.
“The lion is in perfect health,” he said.
Opened in 1978 and home to 824 birds and 42 species of 89 animals, the Marghazar Zoo has been criticised for the conditions under which it keeps its animals. Just this year, two zebras, two urials, an ostrich and a wolf have died in the zoo.
The case of Kavaan, the lone elephant, has also been taken up by animal rights activists worldwide and protests were staged outside Pakistani embassies, and on social media, in order to pressure the government to take proper care of the elephant.
American singer Cher recently sent her agent to Islamabad to check on Kavaan. The CDA has promised to bring in a young pair of elephants from Sri Lanka, but is yet to make good on this promise as well as the many promises for upgrading the zoo.
A few months ago, the CDA spent Rs6 million to call an expression of interest from national and international companies for expanding the zoo, even though the CDA is itself a development authority.
No international firms have shown an interest in the project yet and only four national companies have responded to the advertisement.
Meanwhile, the CDA has decided not to go ahead with these plans after reports of the administrative control of the zoo being handed over to the newly-formed Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI).
And then, a few weeks ago, the prime minister directed that the administrative control of the zoo, Lakeview Park and F-9 Park be handed over to the MCI.
However, due to the many cases pending in the courts that were filed against the transfer CDA employees, 23 directorates and assets to the MCI, the CDA has not yet issued a notification for devolving the zoo to the new corporation.
The CDA is therefore, looking after the zoo for now.
When asked, Chief Metropolitan Officer Asad Mehboob Kayani said the MCI is yet to be given control of the zoo.
“The deaths of eight animals are very alarming and after we have control of the zoo, we will pay special attention to providing regular medical checkup and good quality food to the animals and birds,” he said.
Mr Kayani added that control of the zoo will be handed over to the MCI in the next few days.
Meanwhile, a group of animal lovers protested in front of the zoo on Sunday.
They said that a number of animals had died and that a female bear and a blue bull were also not well. The protesters demanded for a proper medical consultant to be hired to conduct regular medical checkups.
“The birds are also kept in pathetic conditions and they are not given food and water on time,” said a protester, Sunny Jamil.
He added that there was just one doctor at the zoo to look after all the animals and that he, too, could not conduct proper checkups.