At least 513 animals have been reported as having gone ‘missing’ from Islamabad’s Marghazar Zoo.
In a report issued by the Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation (IMC) – which was managing the zoo then – in July 2019, there were a total of 917 animals of and birds of different species.
A year later, as per the instructions of the Islamabad High Court’s (IHC), the management of the zoo had been handed over to the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB). However, when the handover documents – dated July 16, 2020 – and signed by the Zoo Deputy Director, Dr. Bilal Khilji, Ministry of Climate Change Biodiversity Director Naeem Ashraf Raja, and the takeover authority, IWMB Chairman Dr. Anisur Rehman, was observed, it showed a significant anomaly.
A comparison of the reports showed that the numbers of various animal species fluctuated with some, like those of the Barking Deer and the Hog Deer increasing from three to five and 7 to 10 respectively, while those for some other species failing.
The count for common doves, who were alone counted at 255 last year, was completely omitted from the handover document and it was thus unclear what their fate was
Sources said that some precious animals at the zoo have either gone missing during this time or have been stolen, it added.
This might be a mystery, but it is indeed a sad and unfortunate one. We hope the authorities take due action against Islamabad Zoo and punish all those who are accountable for it.