After months of closure, the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel A. Jinapor on Friday, 9th December, 2022 reopened the Accra Zoo to the general public and urged all Ghanaians and the diaspora to patronize the Zoo even as the festive season approaches.
“The Accra Zoo, I can assure you is safe and you are all warmly welcome to visit. As we approach the festive season, I want to encourage all of us, both Ghanaians and foreigners alike and particularly our dear students to patronize and interact with nature.” he said.
The Zoo was shut down in August on the instructions of the Minister after an intruder was attacked by the lions. Before this incident, renovations were ongoing to intensify security systems, provide more facilities to ensure the comfort of visitors and make the Zoo more interesting and exciting.
Speaking at the reopening ceremony, the Minister underscored the importance of Zoos and ecotourism in general to the socio-economic development of the country, empathising that they provide an effective economic incentive of conservation and protecting the ecosystem and biodiversity, while creating jobs and generating income to support the national economy.
He exemplified that in Africa, Zoos and ecotourisms have become a major boost to the economies of country’s like Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Rwanda and Zambia and hoped that Ghana’s Zoo will also place the country on such heights.
Zoos he noted are, therefore, very crucial to the conservation of terrestrial life and ecosystems, which Ghana is enjoined by Sustainable Development Goal 15 to protect and conserve.
Due to the many advantages, the Sector Minister disclosed that Government is adopting strategic measures to promote zoos and ecotourism in the country, adding that plans are far advanced to upgrade the three regional zoos in Accra, Tamale and Takoradi, to international standards and eventually establish zoos in all 16 regions of the country.
Whiles assuring the safeness of the Zoo, Mr Jinapor used the opportunity to call on the private sector to partner Government on the ambitious agenda, to bring zoos closer to the people and promote ecotourism.
He announced that as part of measures to protect wildlife resources, Cabinet has approved a new Wildlife Resources Management Bill, to be laid in Parliament in the next couple of weeks, to among others, provide a new legal framework for the management of the wildlife resources.
He highly commended his Deputy responsible for Lands and Forestry, the CEO of the Forestry Commission and the Forestry Commission staff for their tireless efforts in ensuring excellent leadership direction in the management of the forest and wildlife resources of the country.
The Chief Executive of Forestry Commission, Mr. John Allotey in his welcome statement highlighted some recent developments of the Zoo, detailing that the Zoo now has a new visitors lounge with benches, street lights, access routes, camera traps installation at the lions den, bold signages with clear instructions, wider and higher cages and two iron gates constructed to intensify security in the Zoo.
He pointed out that security check points have been mounted close to the lions’ enclosure for constant monitoring to prevent future unfortunate occurrences.
The CEO also disclosed that the Zoo has a Bat Research Center, established to study bat diseases and behavior and the only captive bat breeding population and research Center in the world.
The Accra Zoo has a total of 108 animals made up of monkeys, Antelopes, Birds, Crocodiles, Snakes, Lions, porcupines, Ostrich, Geese, among others with an average visitation of 32,000 annually.