Saturday, February 4, 2023

IWMB plans to transform Monal into wildlife center

The Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) is planning to transform the Monal Restaurant in Margalla Hills into a Wildlife Educational Centre after the Islamabad High Court ordered the capital authorities to seal the restaurant.

The establishment of a wildlife educational center will help protect and preserve the Margalla Hills National Park (MHNP) besides raising awareness about wildlife and encouraging the visitors to respect and value-rich biodiversity of the national park.

Lauding IHC’s decision to seal the restaurant, the IWMB chairperson Ms. Rina Saeed Khan said it would help improve biodiversity, promote flora and fauna and restore the ecosystem of the national park.

 “We have plans to transform Monal Restaurant to educational/info center for wildlife of MHNP. “Old Islamabad Zoo is being turned into Wildlife Park with separate rescue center for injured wildlife species,” she added.

Both these centers will be opened for the general public and the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has no objection to both these projects, said the chairperson.

The Wildlife Management Board has already prepared the proposed plan to set up the wildlife center, according to the people aware of the development. The IWMB will now present the plan to the relevant authorities seeking approval to start the transformation.

Climate change ministry expected to support the proposal

The ministry for climate change has already appreciated the IHC’s decision to seal off Monal Restaurant and it is expected to also support IWMB’s proposal for the establishment of a wildlife center in Margalla Hills. An official said that the ministry is working on restoring the illegally occupied land of the national park from local people and builders, who are planning to build residential and commercial properties.

IHC’s ruling

The Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Athar Minallah on Jan. 11, while hearing a case related to encroachments in the MNHP, had ordered Islamabad Capital Territory Chief Commissioner to seal Monal restaurant with immediate effect.

There are two other restaurants as well in the vicinity of the protected MHNP and they are still operational. The IWMB is planning to soon send closure notices to these restaurants as well.

“Monal Restaurant has been sealed at least three times. Now other restaurants in area would also be served notices,” said the IWMB chairperson.

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