Animal sanctuaries in one of the most populated cities in the country have a problem of overcrowding and to address it, Lahore Zoo has decided to auction off animals, especially its big cats. Currently, the total number of surplus lions in different zoos in Punjab is over 20 – Lahore Zoo, home to 26 lions, is looking to offload 8 African lions and Lahore Safari Park, home to 40 lions, will sell 12 at auction.
Forestry and Wildlife Secretary Shahid Zaman in an interview with The Express Tribune informed that the department has 3 priorities regarding surplus animals. “The first priority is that we will pair surplus animals with animals in the 21 small and large game parks and zoos in Punjab for breeding. After that, some animals will be released into protected areas and if we still have a surplus, we will auction them off to the public,” he explained.
Zaman added that since the larger cats could not be released into the wild, they would most likely be auctioned off. It should be noted that a previous auction held earlier in the month, in which nine parties participated, failed because 8 of the 9 parties did not meet the strict auction guidelines established by the Punjab wildlife department. Badar Munir, Chairman of the Forests, Wildlife and Fisheries Task Force, Punjab, while breaking down the auction process to The Express Tribune, said that any person or entity can participate in the upcoming lion auction and tigers, however, it was necessary for them. respect the rules and regulations issued by the department.
The rules that participants must follow include: having a large cage, availability of a veterinarian, certificate of registration as a breeder from Punjab Wildlife and a No Objection Certificate (NOC). When asked how much a lion would cost, Munir said that in the past big cats were sold at the price of sheep and goats, but this time it would be different. “We will now sell them at market prices. The price of an adult African lion on the open market is between 3 and 3.5 million rupees.
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Therefore, we have set a reserve price of Rs 150,000. This will initiate the bidding process and the highest bidder can take the animal home,” he said. Munir warned that buying a lion was no joke as it required huge funds even after the auction ended, which was one of the reasons cats were auctioned off in in the first place because zoos could not afford to feed surplus animals.
“An adult lion eats 8 to 10 kilos of meat a day and chicken once a week. The cost of a day’s food for a lion is around 5,000 rupees. So if you do the math, it costs over Rs 150,000 per month to feed and care for a lion,” Munir told The Express Tribune.