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No fewer than 250 animals in the Imo State Zoological Garden and Wildlife Park have reportedly died from starvation.
According to an inside source from the park located at Nekede, Owerri West council area of the State who refused to reveal his identity, the animals died as a result of neglect.
The source put the loss of the animals to worth N38 million but he did not disclose in detail if 3 lions in the zoo were affected. “We have 3 lions in the zoo including other species of wild animals but I can’t tell you if the lions are among the dead ones but certainly, the remaining animals are almost dying due to hunger.” The source said.
Our correspondent gathered that it cost the wildlife park an average of N1.2 million to feed about 500 animals in a month with subvention coming from the State government, but had since stopped according to the source.
‘If urgent steps are not taken, the zoo established since 1976 may face extinction.’ Said the source.
The managers of the zoo are said to be handicapped presently as they can longer generate their own revenue to feed the animals due to low patronage of the park by tourists.
And this has been attributed to collapse of the roads leading to the zoo from the Owerri capital.
‘The only link road, constructed by the Rochas Okorocha administration, collapsed before the administration of Hope Uzodimma.’ He said.
A foreign tourist, Michael Benbruse who spoke on the State of the zoo said ‘I’m a Russian citizen and an international tourist. I visited Imo Zoo today to see for myself how the animals are faring. But I must tell you that I’m emotionally traumatised with what I saw in the zoological garden.
‘What I see here is a near-death condition of the lions and other animals which are not catered for,’ Benbruse said.
However, when contacted, the State commissioner for tourism, Uche Ohia said the State government is aware of the plight of the zoo but assured that efforts are being made to create a source of revenue for the park so that it can be independent.
Also, Ohia disclosed that the State government is working on providing a palliative for the zoo to prevent further loss of lives of the animals while also assuring that the road which has caused the low patronage of the tourists to the zoo is presently being fixed.
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