The Wildlife Experience Center, A Trip to Remember …
From Left to Right: Me, Hina, Mr. Atif Imtiaz (President of TWEC), Syed Umer Iftikhar Ahmed (Education Director, TWEC), Afnan, Jeet
We recently had the privilege to visit a petting zoo, The Wildlife Experience Centre (TWEC) which is an on-ground project of The Wildlife Welfare Society. Located inside Zeeshan Azeem Haider Shaheed Park in Nazimabad Block 1, Karachi, this vicinity serves as a perfect spot to entice pet lovers.
Ever since I got to know about this heaven in Karachi I had been dying to visit it so that I could pet the furry balls. Finally getting a chance to visit it with a friend (Hina, an internationally acclaimed author of Equinox) and then again with family I’m still like that hungry kid who hasn’t yet had her hands full with candies, any supply is insufficient hence making me a glutton for pets.
Invited by TWEC’s Education Director, Syed Umer Iftikhar Ahmed, we were given VIP treatment by the pets, especially the birds as all they wanted was to hug and cuddle with you. As we entered, we were welcomed by Mr. Atif Imtiaz, one of the initiators and the dedicated President of the NGO and then by a Gold Macaw rightly named as ‘Blossom’ by a little volunteer (Afnan).
I being a parrot freak couldn’t wait to play with Blossom after which I had to count my fingers; its beak seemed bigger than the size of my wrist and the tail length added to the beauty of it’s entire existence. As the bird playfully chewed my fingers and munched on my nose I knew I had found a feathered soul-mate: P … as it’s claws tightened their grip to walk around the territory of my shoulders we knew it was a cheerful yet demanding bird. “Macaws like Sun Conures have to stay busy with some activity or the other owing to their restless curiosity” explained Mr. Atif. Later on, we did realize that Blossom is the gentlest bird TWEC has while the cockatoos follow suit.
Being a bird person I didn’t show much interest in the reptiles, however, the innocuous pythons were one of their kind, when touched they seemed quite a lot like plastic and surprisingly they weren’t scary at all, one would rather be more scared of domestic lizards.
We were also invited to inaugurate the marine tank that was recently setup for two of their newly acquired clown fish introduced other than the resplendent fish collection they already have. Children and even adults relate it as ‘Nemo’ … there we found Nemo. TWEC is planning to keep a “Finding Nemo” themed collection in that aquarium.
It’s a wonder that people do not realize the true worth of the rare Black Swans …eh … ever heard of the Black Swan event? It’s called such due to the rarity of occurrence. Well TWEC also had these along with a beautiful Mandarin Duck. Another wonderful thing was the 80 year old turtle present as a symbol of calm and peacefulness in a not so peaceful city.
Moving ahead, we were greeted by their Fisher Cat which was not in the very best of moods as that’s how it’s like we were told. Being about to feed my hand to it I was cautioned by the hosts not to get too close to that beauty which friends likened as a cheetah. “Aray in kay pass shair bhi hai,’ (Oh they have a cheetah too?) A few of them asked. Rest assured it wasn’t a simple domestic cat.
The pairs of the Amazon Parrots, Grey Parrots and the Electuses were an eye candy. Ever seen a Turaco in any of our zoos? No? Well TWEC accommodates this species that are as quick as a flash.
Rainbow Lorikeet (Baby)
A Bunch of Conures
A separate room constructed as an aviary was more like a fantasy come true. With a vast variety of conures, it serves as a teaching ground with bird specifics. There they had the soft and loving cockatoos, softer of which was the gala cockatoo while the umbrella cockatoos were absolute acrobats. It was great to be with all of them hand tamed birds, however, with bird freakiness comes a word of caution, ‘BIRDS ARE MOODY PEOPLE … YES! PEOPLE!” please don’t mess with them or try to force them to be petted, though they are extremely friendly … and kindly don’t feed them nonsense. The TWEC admin has bird food that they give to people interested in hand feeding the birds.
Almost all the hand tamed parrots were mentioning the signature word, ‘Atif’ and one of the rainbow lorikeets even exclaimed ‘stupid’ when irritated.
Photo by Umer
Overall, it’s a great and a must go place for animal lovers, especially for those who want to interact with them, however, the general timings are 5 pm onwards during which all animals are kept inside their cages to ensure their safety when surrounded by the not so tame humans; one has to take special permission and arrange for an appointment to be privileged to visit at a time when he/she can touch the birdies.
Ever since I flaunted off our visit on social media through pictures, especially while posing with blossom I have been repeatedly asked by friends about TWEC. Well, below is the map for folks who want to visit it.
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook URL: https://www.facebook.com/TheWildlifeExperienceCenter
Mobile Number: 0300-8237997 (Mr. Atif)
0322-2392226 (Syed Umr)
0322-2392226 (Syed Umr)
Also, since TWEC aims at creating awareness at large for handling animal species, it has initiated an internship program under the name ‘TWEC Warriors’ for students who are interested to participate as it could no doubt be a value addition with respect to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for their resumes.
Volunteers are always welcome. :)
Mr. Atif while showing the 14 ft python