|Flamingoes at Karachi Zoo|
The history of Karachi Zoo is based on the administrative report of 1949 of the corporation of the city of Karachi. Accordingly it was commonly known as Mahatma Gandhi Garden. It was transferred by the government to the municipality in the year 1861 on the condition that it shall never be sublet or transferred. The Zoo has an interesting history as it forms a part of the ground where the old East India Companies factory was situated. In 1833 as it was marked on a map prepared by Commander Charles, who described it as surrounded by trees, giving a look of garden. In 1878, the Municipality after considering various suggestions for improving the Zoo placed it under a trust to be maintained out of public subscription. The present Zoo started in a better way by donation in 1881. In 1953 K.M.C. decided to create the post of full time curator, a qualified veterinary doctor, to keep the animals in good health. Presently total sanctioned strength of Karachi Zoo is 233 staff including 8 technical staff and the rest skilled or semi skilled workers/staff.
Dr. A.A Qureshi, Ex-Deputy Director Zoo, has described the history of Zoo as under: -
“In 1799 when the ruling Tlapur Mir’s of Hyderabad Sindh removed Mr. Crowes, the factory Manager of the old East India Company, little did either of them know that the Government garden surrounding the present site would ever turn into the emerald, green paradise of Karachi where the biggest Zoo of the country would be housed. In 1840 when the English settled in Karachi, the best use they had for this piece of land to grow vegetables for the tummies and Lucerne for seeds.”
“As late as 1921 there were three malis in the Zoo, a shop and a clerk but no peon in the office.”
“One is surprised to find out from the annuals of Zoological Garden that the first source of income was not large. The deterioration of the soil and the rumble of distant guns affected the first, and the constant movement of groups of troops since the commencement of Afghan was reduced the list of subscriber and the money. Consequently, the Zoo could not be properly maintained.
“The present Zoo started by donation in 1881 soon claimed the attention of the Municipal Commissioner of Bombay who respectfully wrote to the authorities to find way and means of keeping animal in good health.”
When the first curator, as the post designated, confirming to such a post that existed for Victoria Museum of Karachi (which was also under K.M.C.), the garden still wore the crest of Mahatma Gandhi.