Islamabad Zoo

Islamabad Zoo (Urdu: اسلام آباد چڑیا گھر), previously Marghazar Zoo, was an 82-acre (33 ha) zoo in Islamabad Capital Territory. It was opened in 1978,[1] and was under the administration of Capital Development Authority of Pakistan before its closure in December 2020 due to its mistreatment of animals.[2]

Islamabad Zoo
اسلام آباد چڑیا گھر
Zebra in Islamabad, Bhurban Pakistan.jpg
A view of Islamabad Zoo
Date opened1978
Date closedDecember 2020
LocationPir Sohawa Road,
Islamabad, Pakistan Pakistan
Coordinates33°44′3.47″N 73°3′32.81″E / 33.7342972°N 73.0591139°E / 33.7342972; 73.0591139Coordinates: 33°44′3.47″N 73°3′32.81″E / 33.7342972°N 73.0591139°E / 33.7342972; 73.0591139
Land area82 acres (33 ha)
No. of animals~600
No. of species?
Annual visitors~1 million

In May 2020, the High Court ruled to transfer management of the park to the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board and transfer all animals to shelters,[3] and the board took administrative control in June 2021. A renovation of the zoo as a conservation centre is being planned.


The zoo started in 1978 as a refuge for leopards, spotted deer, and Indian gazelle found in the region, and was administered by Capital Development Authority of Pakistan. Located in the feet of Margalla Hills.[1] It soon gained popularity and became a part of the Japanese garden. An aviary was later constructed. The Capital Development Authority devised a plan in August 2008 to upgrade and extend the zoo as a recreational area and wildlife sanctuary. The estimated cost of the project is 1407.8 million Pakistani rupees.[2]

As of February 2019, Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul told a Senate committee that she has requested the government to hand over the control to the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board for better management of the zoo and care of the animals.[4] Gul said, “The zoo needs to be returned from the MCI to the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board that has qualified individuals and trained caretakers.”

In May 2020 the closure of the zoo was ordered by the court.[5]


In September 2016, the 32 year-old Asian elephant named Kaavan, turned mentally ill due to being chain bound for the last two decades.[6] The neglect spawned international attention, and there was a #SaveKavaan hashtag on social media. The zoo consequently decided to send Kavaan to his homeland of Cambodia.[7] In July 2017, four lion cubs died due to keepers giving them high intakes of Welmingnch milk instead of a lioness' milk.[8] Later in 2017, a male ostrich died due to negligence of the zoo staff. In August 2018, six deer were mauled by a wolf at an extension of the zoo. The zoo has also been criticised for the insufficient or bad quality of food, the small cages they are put in, and their poor health.[9]

On 21 May 2020, the Islamabad High Court ordered that the elephant Kaavan should be immediately relocated to a different sanctuary following a four-year campaign by popular pop singer Cher since 2016 demanding for the release of Kaavan from Islamabad Zoo.[10][11] On December 1, 2020, Kaavan arrived at an wildlife sanctuary in Cambodia.[12]


In 2021, the climate change ministry of Pakistan began planning a $7.5 million rehabilitation of the zoo. All animals were temporarily relocated to sanctuaries. The ministry intends to establish the zoo as a conservation centre, with facilities to treat and rehabilitate injured wildlife.[13] The Islamabad Wildlife Management Board took administrative control of the zoo on June 24, 2021.[14]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Islamabad Zoo presents a deserted look". The Nation. 2009. Archived from the original on 7 January 2010. Retrieved 3 June 2010.
  2. ^ a b "Development of Marghazar Zoo, Islamabad". Capital Development Authority. 2008. Archived from the original on 14 May 2010. Retrieved 3 June 2010.
  3. ^ "513 animals go 'missing' from Islamabad zoo". Retrieved 2020-12-02.
  4. ^ Shahid, Jamal (2019-02-21). "Islamabad wildlife dept should take over Marghazar Zoo: minister". DAWN.COM. Retrieved 2022-02-25.
  5. ^ "FOUR PAWS Rescues Bears Suzie And Bubloo And Relocates Them To A Sanctuary In Jordan Marking The End Of Marghazar Zoo In Islamabad". World Animal News. 2020-12-18. Retrieved 2022-02-25.
  6. ^ "Islamabad zoo | Pakistan Today".
  7. ^ "Islamabad: Zoo authorities suggest to send Kaavan to Cambodia - Pakistan". Dunya News.
  8. ^ "Death of four cubs at Islamabad zoo: negligence or infanticide? | Pakistan Today".
  9. ^ Editorial (2019-02-23). "Marghazar Zoo". DAWN.COM. Retrieved 2019-03-30.
  10. ^ "Pakistan to free elephant Kaavan after campaign by US singer Cher". Retrieved 2022-02-25.
  11. ^ "Pakistan to free elephant Kaavan after campaign by US singer Cher | Daily FT". Retrieved 2022-02-25.
  12. ^ "'World's loneliest elephant' arrives for new life in Cambodia". BBC News. 2020-11-30. Retrieved 2022-02-25.
  13. ^ "Pakistan Zoo, Once Home to the 'World's Loneliest Elephant', to Undergo Mammoth Makeover". News18. February 21, 2021. Retrieved February 22, 2021.
  14. ^ desk, News (2021-06-23). "Islamabad Zoo to be converted into Margallah Wildlife Centre". Pakistan Observer. Retrieved 2022-02-25. {{cite web}}: |first= has generic name (help)

External linksEdit

  Media related to Islamabad Zoo at Wikimedia Commons