The Lands Minister, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has stated how crucial zoos are to the conservation of terrestrial life and ecosystems in Ghana.
Speaking at the reopening of the Accra Zoo to the public, the Minister, Samuel Abu Jinapor, said the importance of zoos and eco-tourism in general to the socio-economic development of the country cannot be overemphasized.
He mentioned how zoos provide an effective economic incentive for the conservation and protection of the ecosystem and biodiversity, and how they provide a safe space for endangered species and create an enabling environment for them to reproduce.
“Zoos provide a safe place for endangered species, create an environment for such species to reproduce and provide an opportunity to learn from and about animals. Zoos are, therefore, very crucial to the conservation of terrestrial life and ecosystems,” he averred.
The Minister also emphasised how zoos have become a job creation and income-generating venture for many in Ghana.
“Zoos and aquariums contributed over $24 to the US economy in 2019 and said zoos and eco-tourism in Africa have become a major boost to the economies of some countries.
“The Kenyan economy, for instance, is said to have benefited by $4.2 billion from eco-tourism in 2020 alone,” he said.
According to him, the government is adopting strategic measures to promote zoos and eco-tourism in the country and said plans are in place to upgrade the Kumasi Zoo as well as establish three new zoos in Tamale, Takoradi, and Koforidua.
He also disclosed that efforts have begun to establish zoos in all 16 regions of the country, commended the Forestry Commission on the improvements made in the zoo, and called on the public to visit the zoo.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Forestry Commission, John Allotey, listed the enhancements made at the zoo.
“Some of the notable improvements made are the installation of an electrical power supply to the zoo, the installation of closed-circuit television cameras and camera traps, especially in the lions’ enclosure, to detect movement of objects and people, increasing the height of the outer perimeter to 16 feet, creating a third perimeter for defence, and renovating most of the animal cages.”
Mr Allotey mentioned that the zoo has a bat research centre that hosts over 200 bats.
He noted that the centre is a collaboration among the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission, the Veterinary Services Division, the University of Ghana, Cambridge University, and the Institute of Zoology in the United Kingdom.
The Accra Zoo was temporarily closed in August 2022 at the Minister’s request after it was learned that a middle-aged man had been attacked by lions after scaling the lions’ enclosure.
The zoo was closed so that the necessary security measures could be put in place and inquiries into the incident could be opened in order to prevent future occurrences of this kind.
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