Wildlife: UAE donates 18 big cats to Pakistan’s Lahore Zoo


By Muhammad Luqman
Eighteen tigers and cheetas donated by the Prime Minister of United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Muhammad Bin Rashid Al-Maktoom were handed over to the authorities of Lahore Zoological Gardens at a special ceremony attended among by Chief Minister of Punjab Province, Sardar Usman Buzdar on Monday.
The donated animals included- four white tigers, six Bengal tigers, and eight African lions transferred to help widen the gene pool of its big cat breeding programme
The international market value of 18 lions and tigers is about Rs 100 million.
According to Pakistan’s Ministry of Climate Change ,the transfer came after Pakistani authorities appealed to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, about the possibility of sending some big cats to assist in its breeding programme.
“Inbreeding is the major issue in big cats in Punjab because the animals already kept by the department have been crossbreeding with their close relatives for years,” Ministry of Climate Change said in a statement.
Ministry officials said , due to deleterious effects of inbreeding there are more chances of still births, genetic disorders, low immunity and tendency to accept different diseases more easily among the captive stock of big cats of the department.
The Punjab Wildlife Department has set up a breeding programme in the Chankara area with the help of UAE, while 25 acres of land have also been set aside for the Emirates to establish a falcon farm for breeding purposes in Murree, Punjab.
Zoos play a vital role in conservation through breeding programmes, which are carefully managed to control numbers and prevent inbreeding.
Lahore Zoo, which opened in 1872, is one of the five oldest zoological gardens in the world.


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