ISLAMABAD – The cash-strapped Capital Development Authority (CDA) is likely to approve Rs 50 million for construction work at Marghazar Zoo after Eidul Azha, it has been learnt.

A senior CDA official told Pakistan Today that the CDA had been facing severe financial crisis due to which it could not upgrade the Marghazar Zoo project in a single phase, so it had decided to upgrade the zoo in separate packages. He said that in this regard the CDA would approve Rs 50 million under package-B within two weeks. The official added that the proposal had been sent to the finance wing and it would approve funds for the project within a few weeks, adding the construction work would also hopefully be started in December.

The official said the funds would be utilised on the construction of animal enclosure, pavements, lights and others. The project of the Marghazar Zoo had faced many hurdles due to the financial crunch, he said. He added the cost of the three-year expansion project which kicked off in August 2008 was Rs 1407.8 million. The aim behind the construction of the zoo was to provide a semi-natural environment for the animals and enhance the experience of the visitors through an efficient designing.

Under the plan of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) mentioned on the official website, the proposed zoo was going to be extended to over an area of 82 acres, including 20 acres of the current facility. Similarly, 200 different species of animals were going to be added to the current flock. It was also proposed that in the upgraded zoo, the animals would be kept in open areas and the visitors would use elevated walkways to view them.

The Marghazar Zoo houses around 77 mammals of 17 species, 569 birds of 45 species and 13 reptiles of three species. Unfortunately, most of these are also being kept in an unsuitable atmosphere.

The official said that each enclosure covered one acre and consisted of ponds, keepers’ area, fans, water connection and food storage area. He added the CDA had planned to construct another six enclosures for two African lions, three black bears, two brown bears, three blue bulls, cheetahs and four sambar deer.

The project includes an amphitheatre, two restaurants and separate entrances for commoners and VIPs. As per the PC-1, the zoo will also have a nocturnal enclosure (for animals that appear in the night), dolphin enclosure and a butterfly park.

The butterfly park would be covered by a net and butterflies of various species would be kept there; however, arrangements would be made to stop visitors from touching them, he said. Three aviaries have been planned that will be segregated keeping in view the kinds of birds; one for heavy birds, another for parrots and sparrows and the third one for wild birds.