Peshawar: Citizens of Peshawar city, especially the children, are delighted as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s first zoo opened its door for animal lovers.
The safari park, located in Rahatabad area of Peshawar, boasts nearly 29 acres and is home to lions, leopards, monkeys and different species of birds.
The long-awaited animal facility built at a cost of Rs270 million (Dh2.44 million) features an aviary, children’s park and bicycle track as well as an exotic butterfly house.
The province’s first and Pakistan’s largest zoo was inaugurated by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Chief Minister Pervez Khattak on Monday.
“Peshawar Zoo is a gift for the people of Peshawar and it would not only add to the environmental and aesthetic beauty of the city but would also become a symbol of peace and prosperity for the people of the unrest- and terror-stricken province,” Khattak said during the launch ceremony.
The zoo is spread over 29 acres of land, making it country’s biggest zoo. Khattak said Rs270 million has been spent on provinces’ most-awaited development projects, which took nearly two years to compete.
It is the first zoo in the country to have been developed in line with the international parameters under a comprehensive master plan. Almost all species of wild animals and birds have been put in enclosures featuring a natural habitat.
The zoo administration is planning to acquire rare species including elephants, lions, reptiles and birds from abroad at a cost of Rs260 million, the chief minister said.
Khattak added that the environment-friendly zoo would provide entertainment opportunities to the visitors and tourists and would become a source of research for the students of zoology who otherwise had to travel to Islamabad and Lahore for the purpose.
The idea for a zoo in Peshawar took shape following demands of students and a signature campaign that prompted the government to announce its construction.
Provincial Environment Minister Ishtiaq Urmar, Member of Provincial Assembly (MPS) from the area, Yaseen Khan Khalil, and Environment Secretary Syed Nazar Hussain Shah spoke at the inaugural event. Shah highlighted various aspects of the zoo while KP Assembly Speaker, Asad Qaisar, and MPAs and Members of National Assembly of Peshawar were also attended the event.
Khattak also pledged to make Peshawar one of the most beautiful cities in the country. The provincial government, he said, has given special attention to the environment sector from the beginning such as the Billion Tree Tsunami afforestation project, which earned global appreciation for the country.