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Kabul Zoo in progress

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Kabul Zoo in progress

 Compared to the zoo worldwide, Kabul Zoo a sad place for an animal to live but still it attracts a large number of visitors during holidays. Fazal Khuda Saadat, administrative assistant in relation to the development of Kabul Zoo said to The Kabul Times, The zoo was inaugurated in 1967 with a focus on Afghan fauna by King Zahir Shah, being very popular with visitors and press.

The zoo once had more than 500 animals with about 150,000 visitors coming to see them in 1972 but suffered significant damage during the long civil war in Afghanistan, he added. “The aquarium was damaged by shelling, and combatants took the deer and rabbits for food”. He said.

According to Saadat, with the establishment of transitional government, reconstruction of Kabul Zoo was started from zero and now it has around 700 different animals including, birds, mammals, fish and reptiles.

He said, fortunately, we were successful in a decade to join The South Asian Zoo Association for Regional Cooperation or (SAZARC) and through this gain the membership of World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA). Now Kabul Zoo has internet connections with SAZARC and WAZA and through this we are in ongoing development of wildlife and know how to fight livestock diseases.

According to Saadat, recently what attracted most visitors in Kabul Zoo, is monkey cage, where monkey’s playing and entertaining. They are normally playing jump rope, eating fruit and have fun when visitors offer those cigarettes and some food products.

“During spring, Kabul Zoo animals have normal life but in winter animals as loin, deer a number of birds, snakes and reptiles are quarantined in zoo clinic,” he added. For better control of Kabul Zoo they have set cameras and loudspeakers to prevent persecution of animals.

This official says that there were lake seats and greenery before now all kind of facilities including shops and hotel inside the zoo available for visitors.

He added, Kabul Zoo was built on 16 acres area but we consider to develop this area to 170 acres (up to Paul artal) and in collaboration with the Department of Environment bring Marco Polo Deer and Snow Leopard which have increased 10 percent in the region, to the zoo.

Saadat said that, recently Haji shafiqullah have gifted a lion to the zoo and soon we will bring there, visitor will see an elephant there too. Kabul Zoo is almost self sufficient and each visitors aged more than 7 years are paying 20 Afghani per visit, he said.

Marjan the lion, who survived 20 years of nearby combat and deprivation, died in January 2002, but Donatella, the Asiatic brown bear with the pitifully inflamed and infected nose from frequent torture by stick-wielding Taliban and militia visitors, now has two smaller bears for company

Karima Malikzada