The Accra Zoo has been reopened, with improved security and refurbished facilities after it was temporarily shut down four months ago.
The shutdown was caused by the death of an intruder who mysteriously entered the lion’s enclosure.
Opening the zoo in Accra yesterday, Mr Samuel Abdulai Jinapor, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources said that the importance of zoos and ecotourism in general to the socio economic development of the country could not be over emphasised as they provided economic incentives for conservation, protect the ecosystem and biodiversity while creating jobs.
As such, he hinted that the Kumasi Zoo would be upgraded while three new ones would be built in Tamale, Takoradi and Koforidua respectively.
Mr Jinapor stressed that thegovernment was adopting strategic measures to promote zoos and ecotourism in the country adding that “we have also commenced engagements to establish zoos in all the sixteen regions of the country so we call on stakeholders to partner the government to bring the zoos closer to the people.’’
He said as part of measures to protect the wildlife resources, cabinet had approved a new wildlife resources management bill to be laid in Parliament in the next couple of weeks to provide a new legal framework for the management of wildlife resources in the country.
The Minister expressed the hope that when passed it would give the Forestry Commission (FC) a lot more authority to effectively manage the national parks, zoos and resource reserves.
“It will also promote private participation and community engagement in wildlife management and improve law enforcement in protected areas,” he added.
Mr John Allotey, Chief Executive, FC mentioned the upgrade the installation of electricity power, Close Circuit Television Cameras (CCTV) to monitor the movements of visitors as some of the security measures instituted.
He said the outer perimeter of the lion’s enclosure had been increased to 16 feet high as well as the creation of a third perimeter fence around the lion’s enclosure.
Mr Allotey said the had a total of 108 animals made up of monkeys, antelopes, birds, crocodiles, snakes, zebra, lions, porcupines, ostriches among many others.
He said the average visitation to the zoo for the past two-years had been close to 35,000 annually, and called on the general public to adhere to the laid down administrative procedures by observing the security protocols at the zoo.
The Accra zoo was created in 1961 by Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, the first President of Ghana solely to entertain his private visitors.
It was located behind the Flagstaff house and later relocated to the Achimota forest.
BY SETH ADU AGYEI