The Swat Mini Zoo project, designed to entertain tourists in the picturesque Valley of Swat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, is at risk of not being completed on time due to a lack of funds. Comprising Kanju and Malam Jabba Zoo, the latter being the first of its kind in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Pakistan, designed to house animals unable to endure extreme weather conditions, especially the heat.
The project commenced in April 2021 with an allocated budget of Rs 1,710 million, scheduled for completion in June 2024. Unfortunately, due to insufficient funds, further construction has come to a halt.
The Project Director, Swat Minizo, has urgently requested Rs 4.73 crore for the current year (2024) to cover outstanding payments to contractors and facilitate the purchase of necessary machinery by January 30. Failure to settle the arrears may lead the contractor to withhold the completed portion of the zoo, potentially resorting to legal action.
Despite 80% of the machinery being procured and 52% of development work completed, the release of funds remains pending. The Project Director, Ghafoor, has continuously appealed to relevant authorities for fund allocation, expressing optimism that timely availability will kickstart reconstruction efforts. He envisions the project not only as a source of entertainment but also as a revenue generator for the government.
The Swat Mini Zoo has two segments, one in Kanju Township covering 94 kanals and another in Malam Jabba, named the Summer House, spanning 18 kanals. The Summer House will host animals unable to endure extreme weather conditions, featuring local species like Markhor, ibex, and leopard, as well as rare international species from Africa.
Although construction milestones, such as the main gate, emergency gate, and ticket gate, have been partially completed, the transfer of animals, including camels, markhors, cheetahs, and African lions, is delayed due to insufficient funds. The project director anticipates acquiring more than two dozen additional animals to enhance the zoo’s biodiversity.