The Accra Zoo has been reopened, with improved security and refurbished facilities after it was temporarily shut down a few months ago.
The shutdown was occasioned by the death of an intruder who mysteriously entered the lion’s enclosure.
The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources (MLNR), Samuel A. Jinapor, performing the reopening ceremony noted the importance of zoos, for that matter ecotourism, to the socio-economic development of the country. He mentioned that zoos create an effective economic incentive for the conservation and protection of the ecosystem and biodiversity; as well as create jobs and generate income to support the national economy.
He explained that, in Africa, zoos and ecotourism have become a major boost to the economies of countries such as Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Rwanda, and Zambia. Therefore, the government was adopting strategic measures to promote zoos and ecotourism to appreciable levels for the country. He called on the private sector to support the government in this significant agenda.
Mr. Samuel Jinapor was appreciative of the immense efforts of the Deputy Minister of MLNR, Mr. Benito Owusu-Bio; the Chief Executive of the Forestry Commission (FC), Mr. John Allotey, and all FC staff for the excellent management of the country’s zoos, forest, and wildlife resources.
He ended his message by encouraging Ghanaians, foreigners, and particularly students to visit the Accra Zoo during the Christmas festivities and beyond as the Zoo is safe.
The FC Chief Executive, Mr. John Allotey, explained that the Forestry Commission since the Zoo’s shutdown had worked tirelessly to enhance security and other facilities to mitigate potential risks that may confront the Accra Zoo management in serving its clients and the general public at large.
Pointing out that notable improvements made at the place include the installation of electrical power supply to the Zoo; the installation of Close Circuit Television cameras (CCTV) and camera traps at the Zoo, especially the lions’ enclosures, to detect the movements of objects and persons within the area in order to enhance surveillance; mounting of security checkpoints close to the lions enclosure for constant monitoring; and enhancement of the lions enclosure to be more robust with the addition of a third outer perimeter security fence of 5 meters high.
Others are the provision of directional signage to allow visitors to know their bearings at the Zoo; construction of new receptive facilities and improvement of existing washroom facilities for the comfort of visitors; renovation of old and dilapidated animal cages; a tagging system for all visitors to the Zoo, among others.
He called on all stakeholders, partners and the general public to play their part by following the laid down administrative procedures and also, observing the security protocols put in place at the Zoo.
The ceremony had the Board of Commissioners of the Forestry Commission, the Executive Management team, Directors and FC staff, and other stakeholders present.
As part of the activities, a tour of the zoo was undertaken by the Minister, Hon. Samuel Jinapor, the dignitaries and school pupils from the Achimota Basic 1 & 2 and Anumele Cluster Schools as well as staff of the Forestry Commission and all others present.