Chairperson Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) Rina Saeed Khan on Wednesday expressed her displeasure over vague handover of Marghazar Zoo assets to the Board and regretted the absence of Chairman Capital Development Authority (CDA) Amir Ali Ahmed. The IWMB officials along with the Ministry of Climate Change organized a handing over ceremony of Marghazar Zoo which would be converted into a Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre here where the Chairman CDA did not attend the ceremony despite his confirmation for presence at the ceremony. IWMB Chair Rina Saeed Khan told APP that it was incomprehensible that CDA was creating bottlenecks in establishing the first ever Wildlife Centre in line with the Prime Minister’s clean and green agenda for overall environmental sustainability and wildlife conservation. “The CDA authorities wanted us to take possession of the entire Zoo property whereas it has asked us to seek a formal Cabinet approval to take over the 82 acres land of the Zoo. We have initiated the effort as per the Islamabad High Court Orders and these bureaucratic hiccups will mar the initiative,” she noted. Rina said it was not possible to build a Wildlife Centre at a massive scale without clear possession of the land as its sustainability would lie in the doldrums sans complete authority over the asset. Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) was established in 2015 after the Islamabad High Court ruling and notification by the then Prime Minister and was working under and with the support of the Ministry of Climate Change. “We are the legal custodians of the adjoining Margalla Hills National Park, mandated to protect, conserve and manage the national park,” Rina Saeed Khan said. She said IWMB’s lead role in transforming the old Marghazar Zoo into Margalla Wildlife Centre had been an uphill task which started last year and now today after this transfer of the Zoo’s assets to us, we hope to close this last chapter of the old Islamabad Zoo and open a new chapter, that of the upcoming Margalla Wildlife Centre. In today’s transfer, she said the entire 82 acres would have come under IWMB including the zoo’s immoveable assets, office spaces, machinery, furniture, vehicles and their management where less the former all other paraphernalia was handed over which was half-baked effort. “IWMB is currently working on detailed plans for the Margalla Wildlife Centre with Join Hands, a registered charitable Society in Pakistan that addresses issues affecting animals and humans,” she said. Join Hands’ team of international wildlife experts, in collaborative partnership with the Ministry of Climate Change and the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board, is currently providing professional advice and technical expertise towards the planning and development of the future Margalla Wildlife Center, she added. Elaborating the details of the centre, she said it would comprise a Visitor Information Centre for the Margalla Hills National Park and would in fact form the official entrance to the national park. We hope to embrace the natural environment that exists in the park and take visitors on an educational journey with viewing platforms etc, she added. “As soon as our PC-2 for the Margalla Wildlife Centre, currently awaiting the approval of the Planning Commission, is cleared a master plan for the centre will be developed and shared with the public,” the IWMB chair informed. The facility, she said, would recognize the need to address rescue and rehabilitation of wildlife. “The Wildlife Centre will be a completely different place to what it was. We will make a commitment to address the rescue and rehabilitation of Pakistan’s most vulnerable species including our bears,” she added. The member Finance of CDA Rana Shakeel Aghar attended the ceremony on behalf of the Chairman and extended an apology on his absence due to some serious official commitment. Speaking on the occasion, he said the Court had ordered to hand over possession of the Zoo to the IWMB and not the land for which a formal process needed to be adopted by the Board.