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Jungle Kingdom

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Jungle Kingdom

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This critique last updated:  Jun 2009


Visitor Reviews

Anthony Heron March 2007

This was my first visit to Jungle Kingdom and it took place in early March, 2007.

I had heard  reports of the zoo several years ago that were not very encouraging, mostly stating that it was a very small zoo in a children’s amusement park with a lot of concrete

dinosaurs and slides etc. However, having read the excellent book ‘Understanding Wildlife’ (Ferozsons, Lahore, 2001) by the Zoo’s Director Zohare Ali Shariff, I decided that someone who could write such a book would have an excellent zoo –and I was right.

The animal exhibits are all located in a line that meanders down and across a gentle slope across the Park’s terrain and the children’s amusement park features are very low key – no noisy rides or large mechanical devices. In fact these features of the park, except, perhaps, for a so-called “House of Mystery’, which had a uniformed dwarf standing outside it, were quite unobtrusive. There was a large walk-through green plastic big cat’s head that emitted low growls near the entrance, but no concrete dinosaurs etc.

Almost all the exhibits are to the left of the path mentioned above. The first of these exhibits was a series of aviaries housing peafowl including black-shouldered, white, Javan green – and a zoo first for me: oaten peafowl, which I found extremely attractive. This was the only zoo I have visited in Pakistan where all the peafowl had appropriate perching facilities. One aviary held crowned crane while demoiselle cranes and guinea fowl were at liberty on the lawns nearby. A further series of aviaries held a very comprehensive collection of pheasants including Siamese, as well as some trumpeter birds. The next exhibit was a large cage for rhesus macaques. These were provided with a stimulating environment with plenty of opportunities for climbing and swinging – again something that was not usually the case in other Pakistani collections I have visited. A medium-sized enclosure named Tiger Meadow came next and a signboard pointed out that as much as was possible had been done to stimulate a natural environment e.g. access to water, opportunities for climbing, stretching  and scratching etc. There was a solitary white tiger in the enclosure on the day of my visit. The next part of the Zoo consisted of enclosures built on a slope. The first held some female urial, what appeared to be a male European mouflon (light colour phase) and possibly one or more female European mouflon – the animals had the opportunity to hide in the terrain available. Other such enclosures held blackbuck and nilgai. Reaching the bottom of a further slope were enclosures for zebra and ostrich as well as a large lake with various species of waterfowl. A facing slope had enclosures for two white fallow deer (kept with a pair of blackbuck) a llama, two European red deer, hog deer and what appeared to be two Merino sheep.

Interestingly, the European red and fallow deer were all females and I wondered if this was a deliberate policy on the part of the Zoo – to keep just two female representative specimens of what are common species in Pakistani zoos, but which could in future be used for breeding should a need arise.

 

The next enclosure, as always to the left of the path, held a pair of African lions the male with a very poorly developed mane. From the angle at which it was sleeping I was unable to determine if it was castrated or not. This would not be a bad idea in a country with a captive population that is probably much inbred and where facilities are limited. A similar adjacent enclosure held the Zoo’s pair of Asiatic black bears, Romeo and Juliet. A short distance away is a medium-sized caged enclosure for a pair of Indian leopards, Raja and Rani. Like the tiger(s) they were provided with opportunities to climb trees and, in this case even sleep in them.

 

To the rear of the leopard enclosure up a flight of steps was a small building containing aviaries for lovebirds, budgies, parrots and ring-necked parrots including what were  two more zoo firsts for me, a white and a blue ring-necked parrot. It is possible to view these aviaries from the rear by entering the building through a door that is easily missed, and there are other birds in cages along the other side of the building. On the day of my visit there was a black swan and her cygnets, enjoying the luxury of a heat lamp – something I had not previously seen in a Pakistani zoo. I was now back once more near the Zoo’s entrance. To my left as I went out was a small shop, presumably unconnected to the Zoo, selling undersized zebra finches and lovebirds as well as peacocks.

 

Despite its small size, I considered Jungle Kingdom to be an excellent zoo with standards of animal welfare far superior to those of other zoos I have visited in Pakistan. It is, perhaps worth noting that one of my companions on this visit, who has visited several zoos in Pakistan, the Far East and the Middle East, remarked at one stage that the water available for the animals was the cleanest that he had seen in any zoo. I wonder if placing all the exhibits (except the zebra and ostriches) to the left of the path around the Zoo was a deliberate strategy. It certainly served to minimize amusement park attractions detracting from visiting the animal collection.

 

 

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