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Lahore Zoo History of Lahore Zoological Gardens

Discussion in 'Pakistan' started by J I N X, 13 Jul 2018.

  1. J I N X

    J I N X Active Member

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    Part 1/2

    When it comes to zoos in Pakistan, getting hand on relevant material is quite difficult, as barely any official archives exist on the topic, and fewer so that are available to the general public. As such, most information comes from old newspaper articles, people's accounts and old family photos that pop up from time to time. I wanted to write about this topic for quite some time now, but had been hampered by, mostly, two reasons; lack of credible info, as I said above, and lack of time, I was occupied with my GCE A level exams. Over time I have collected a lot of info on the topic, there's still a lot to go, but now I feel confident enough to take a start.

    Please note that the following is not a complete history of the zoo and I will be adding more to the topic as I gather more information about it. Also, if any of you guys have any info to add, please feel free to do so.

    Lahore zoo started out as a private aviary in the ownership of Lalla Mela Ram, a well off Hindu resident of Lahore. In 1872 the aviary was presented to the Lahore Municipal Corporation. Over the next 100 years the zoo kept changing management from one institution to another until, it finally ended up under the Punjab Wildlife Department. Throughout this time the zoo was in all aspects, Victorian, with the animals, which were mostly native bird species. The only major development during this time period was the construction of the pachyderm house, which was completed in 1972, and its first resident, Raja the hippopotamus, arrived two years later. Raja would live to a ripe old age of 51, becoming the zoo's oldest resident in the process.

    Starting in 1982, with the transfer of management to the Wildlife Dept., the zoo underwent a major overhaul, in terms of both housing facilities and animal collection. The lions and tigers, which were resident at the zoo since its founding, were given new enclosures consisting of several indoor compartments and large moated enclosures. The lion house has, since that time, remained more or less unchanged, with the exception of larger outdoor areas for the tigers. In 1988 the zoo's African elephant, Suzi, arrived. Suzi would grow up to become one of the zoo's and Lahore's most iconic and loved residents. The pachyderm also received a pair of Southern white rhinos in 1989.

    Throughout the its history Lahore zoo has displayed various species of monkeys, ranging from local and easily available species, such as rhesus macaques and grey langurs, to more exotic and at times, endangered, species like mandrills and spider monkeys. Till 2012 these were housed in two small buildings, in cramped conditions and on concrete floors, and as such suffered; the zoo's grey langurs and last mandrill died in 2005, due to weather related causes. In 2012, construction of the new monkey enclosures were completed and all the zoo's primate residents, save the chimps and macaques were shifted to the new houses. Currently these enclosures house a female mantled guereza, a family of 9 olive baboons, including 5 juveniles born at the zoo, 3 tufted capuchins and a troop of 5 vervet monkeys. The first chimpanzees, Romeo and Julie, arrived in 1994 and become a public sensation when Julie gave birth to a healthy male, Tinku. The following year in August, Julie once again gave birth, this time to twin sisters, Honey and Pinky. Tinku died in 2004 of pneumonia, Romeo also died of the same disease in 2008 despite treatment. Julie died in 2012 of hepatitis and Pinky died in 2014 of gastro enteritis, leaving Honey the last of the family. A bigger enclosure has been built for chimpanzees but is currently occupied by a pair of Himalayan brown bears.

    Lahore Zoo hasn't had a good experience in keeping giraffes. The earliest record of giraffes, available to me, is when the zoo's, at the time, last giraffe died in 1994 after swallowing a plastic bag that a visitor used to feed it. In 2007, the zoo acquired three giraffes, one male and two females. A female giraffe died in 2009 after being attacked by a zebra that was sharing its enclosure. The zoo has kept its giraffes separately ever since. The remaining female, Twinkle, fell while moving through her enclosure and dislocated her 3rd and 4th cervical vertebrae, resulting in her death. The remaining male died in April, 2015 after suffering a heart attack. On 26, June, 2018 the zoo welcomed a trio of giraffes imported from South Africa. One of these, a female, died 4 days while still in quarantine.

    --End Part 1--
     
  2. J I N X

    J I N X Active Member

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    PICT0015V1.png Olive baboon in former monkey house ~2003. The zoo housed 4 baboons till 2009. Since being moved to a bigger enclosure in 2012 the number has increased to around 10 animals.
     
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  3. FBBird

    FBBird Well-Known Member

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    Looking forward to the next installment!
     
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  4. J I N X

    J I N X Active Member

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    Currently I'm compiling all the older photos in my possession for comparison with the current state of the zoo. Once that's done I'll finish with this and next I'll do either Marghozar zoo, Islamabad or Karachi zoo so stay tuned for that :)
     
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  5. Brum

    Brum Well-Known Member

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    It's great that you're doing threads on Pakistan's zoos as they really do fly under the radar on here, despite most other populous countries being quite well covered. I'm intrigued to know if there are any unusual/endemic species held over there, I'm guessing that mammals may be a bit ABC but I reckon birds and herp's could hold a few surprises. :)
     
  6. J I N X

    J I N X Active Member

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    My reason for starting this was to improve the general image of zoos here because they get a lot of bad press usually. There's a respectable amount of indigenous reptiles represented in most of the bigger institutions and we have one of Asia's biggest pheasantry and various breeding centres for cranes and related birds. When it comes to mammals zoos here give preference to exotic species so unless it's chinkaras or local subspecies of ibex and markhors it is pretty basic. If I do stumble upon something out of the ordinary I'll be sure to post it here.
     
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  7. FBBird

    FBBird Well-Known Member

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    Looking forward to Marghazar -- I was there in 1978, and can just about remember what they had. Two Rhesus Monkeys, a few Chinkara (one or more had been killed by a wild Leopard that came over the fence), an Urial ewe and her daughter by a domestic ram, a Hog Deer buck, a bull Niilgai, and a Black Bear cub. A pair of young Lions had been returned to Lahore because of the cost of meat for them. A range of tall aviaries held White-crested Kalij, Cheer Pheasants, possibly Monal (it was forty years ago!), a Common and two Demoiselle Cranes, and a lot of domestic pigeons. Some small portable aviaries on legs, were crammed with birds -- one was full of Parrakeets -- Ringneck, Blossom-headed and Alexandrine, while another held Barbary and other doves. A small concrete pond held a medium sized softshell turtle.
     
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  8. J I N X

    J I N X Active Member

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    Great to know you were there. A leopard, don't know if it is the same one, was caught within the zoo premises after it had broken in after one night. There's now two herds of nilgai, one of which shares their paddock with a herd of hog deer. There was a brown bear cub born recently but I haven't heard much of it since. The lions are back, swapped with Lahore Safari for all of the barking deer. The cheer pheasants were shifted to take part in a reintroduction program. The parrot collection, which has increased to include cockatoos and lorries among others, now have cages of their own adjacent to the pheasant aviary. The pond shortly held muggers but is now home once again to softshell and spotted pond turtles. There have been two more aviaries constructed, one for rehabilitated birds of prey and another one for cranes and waterfowl.
    Thing with Islamabad zoo is that it isn't run by a wildlife dept. so getting hand on material is not that easy and quite often the authorities are reluctant to share info because of the bad publicity they've received currently.

    Edit: There's currently development underway for a new zoo outside Islamabad, spread over 82 acres to eventually replace Marghozar at least partly.
     
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  9. FBBird

    FBBird Well-Known Member

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    I was working on that reintroduction programme.
     
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  10. FBBird

    FBBird Well-Known Member

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    Just remembered two additional birds there in 1978, both in those small portable aviaries -- a rather battered Shikra, and a Brown Wood Owl.
     
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  11. J I N X

    J I N X Active Member

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    Birds of prey currently there are black kites, steppe eagles and lesser kestrels. There's also a pair of eagle owls now. Interesting to know you worked on the reintroduction. Mind sharing more info on that? Also, have you worked with any other wildlife institution in Pakistan.
     
  12. bongorob

    bongorob Well-Known Member

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    Lahore Zoo was first listed in the International Zoo Yearbook World Zoos List in volume 8

    The address was Zoological Gardens, The Mall, Lahore, West Pakistan. The Curator was Ikram Ulla Kahn LVP. The zoo covered 20 acres and employed 52 staff. Attendance was 1,014,600.

    The zoo held 35 species (182 specimens) of mammals, 54 species (382 specimens) of birds, 5 species (9 specimens) of reptiles, and 9 species (150 specimens) of fish.

    Opening hours were 0700-1230 & 1530-1830 summer and 0800-1700 winter.

    Admission costs was Rs 0.25 adult and Rs 0.13 child.

    All figures relate to 1966.
     
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  13. J I N X

    J I N X Active Member

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    Thanks a lot for the info :)
     
  14. J I N X

    J I N X Active Member

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    For comparison, in 2013;
    Attendance was 3,916,423, area 25 acres.
    40 species of mammals, 225 specimens. 53 species of birds, 646 specimens. 10 species of reptiles, 45 specimens.
    Timings were 0900-1800. Adjusted for inflation, ticket prices are around the same.
     
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  15. Brum

    Brum Well-Known Member

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    Nearly 4 million on 25 acres, bloody hell, if I ever get to Pakistan remind to never go to a zoo on the weekend! :eek: :p
     
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  16. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't think that's the number of visitors per weekend... :p
     
  17. Brum

    Brum Well-Known Member

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    Obviously! :p But 4 million on 25 acres, even over 12 months, is astounding. I think I'd try and minimise my crowd exposure by going on a weekday. Hopefully it would be quieter. Don't get me wrong, I'm fine with crowds but I like to be able to see animas and not the backs of peoples heads! :p ;)
     
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  18. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    It is indeed. It's an average of almost 11,000 people per day, which is enormous.
     
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  19. J I N X

    J I N X Active Member

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    I wouldn't recommend going to any zoo over here after 12 noon for that matter. Personally, I either go in the morning or around noon during summers.
     
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  20. J I N X

    J I N X Active Member

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    PICT0016V1.png Tiger enclosure ~2001. The zoo currently holds around 14 Bengal tigers. 983.JPG Raja the oldest resident of the zoo ~2012, 51 at the time of his death in 2015.