LAHORE – As many as ten tigers and eight lions will be sent to Pakistan as a gift by the United Arab Emirates next week, Adviser to Prime Minister on Climate Change, Malik Ameen Aslam said on Wednesday.
The adviser said 18 big cats are being gifted by UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum; the gifts would be kept at the Lahore Zoo.
A press release by the Ministry of Climate Change said the Lahore Zoo came to know that Al Nakhi Wildlife Centre, Dubai was in possession of more than 400 big cats and put up a request to the UAE premier to donate a few to Pakistan.
“After correspondence with the said facility and fulfilling the legal requirements, Lahore Zoo is going to receive the gift,” read the statement.
According to the ministry, the microchipped big cats were examined in detail, screened for different diseases in Dubai, following which they were deemed fit for relocation to Pakistan.
The gifts include three male and one female white tigers; four male and two female Bengal tigers; and four pairs of African lions all aged between one to five years.
“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. Due to deleterious effects of inbreeding there are more chances of stillbirths, genetic disorders, low immunity and tendency to accept different diseases more easily among the captive stock of big cats of the department,” the press release said.