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Accra Zoo Faces Collapse   
 
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14-Jul-2015  
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The Accra mini zoo, which has seen various relocations since 2006 is on the verge of collapse due to inadequate financing and low patronage of the facility.

The zoo, which is currently a shadow of its former self at its current location in the Achimota forest, is poorly resourced with only a handful of animals currently in the facility.

Aside the near depletion facility, its current location, which is almost a secret, has left the once vibrant zoo almost deserted with a handful of visitors gracing the premises each day. This, attendants say, has greatly affected the revenue generated by the facility for the forestry commission.

A visitor who spoke to Business Day bemoaned the bad conditions of the roads and the deserted state of the zoo calling on the appropriate authorities to save the situation.

“No one knows about the Accra mini zoo not even those who come to pray in the forest.” There are no adverts or publicity about the zoo. I am lucky to know someone who works with the Forestry commission. He mentioned the zoo during a conversation and I decided to visit the place. I am really sad to see the zoo in this state,” a tourist said.

According to the attendants at the zoo, the inadequate revenue collected is used in the feeding of the remaining animals. They revealed that due to the inadequate funds, some of these animals are being fed twice a week due to the high cost of supplies for the animals.

“Some of the animals are supposed to be fed more than twice a week but because of the current financial state of the zoo, we are compelled to feed them twice a week. The government is also in charge of the zoo but until the funds are released we have to manage the little we have,” a zoo attendant told business Day.

Aside the challenge in feeding the animals, most of the infrastructure at the zoo is in bad condition with the resting place of the zoo attendant’s being the most affected.

An attendant explained that though there used to be over 50 species of animals at the zoo, including primates, carnivores, reptiles, rodents, herbivores and birds, there are currently only a handful of animals with most of them being single sex. The most fascinating and interesting animals such as lions, tigers and leopards are no longer available at the zoo.

The Accra Zoo

Accra Zoo, formerly located north on the Independence Avenue, past the Nii Tackie Tawiah overpass was set up by the first President of Ghana, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, as a private menagerie in the early 1960s. It was opened to the public after his overthrow in 1966. Though small, it had a fascinating collection of birds and animals indigenous to Africa with the most interesting including the monkeys, snakes, lions, leopards, crocodiles and duikers among others.

Currently, the Accra mini zoo is located in the deep part of the Achimota forest with little or no publicity or signage giving information on how to locate the zoo whiles at the forest. The zoo is being managed by the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission under the Ministry of lands and Forestry.

Relocation

The Accra zoo, in late 2006 was relocated from its original site in Kanda to pave way for the construction of the presidential complex or jubilee house (now flagstaff house). In view of the relocation, animals from the zoo were transported to the Kumasi zoo awaiting the construction of a new and modern zoo in the Achimota forest; the current abode of the zoo.

The cost for the relocation as estimated at 1.2 billion cedis, whereas the new Zoo was to be constructed at seven (7) million dollars and expected to be completed in phases within five years. Seven years down the line, the zoo has seen various relocations with its final destination being the Achimota forest. Though donations from organizations for the construction new modern zoo at the Achimota forest began in 2007, the new facility to host the Accra zoo is yet to materialize.

Achimota Eco Park

In late 2014, the Forestry Commission outdoored plans to pump over $320m to transform the Achimota Forest into an eco-tourism enclave under a public-private partnership arrangement.

The project, which was to commence in October 2014, was to see government contribute about $172 million cedis as a 55% majority shareholder with the Forestry commission contributing extra $5m (from its internal funds) to the project.

This formed a key part of the Forest and Wildlife Development Master Plan crafted more than a decade-and-half ago by the Forestry Commission.

Key features of the project would include a safari walk, an amusement park, an arboretum, a cultural village, eco-lodges and a spiritual enclave to accommodate religious activities. The Achimota forest has been a reserved greenbelt in Accra since 1930.

Forestry Commission

Efforts to contact the authorities at the Forestry Commission to speak on the current state of the zoo yielded no results.

 
 
Source: Business Day
 
 

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