This is not the best of time for Animals staying in the Zoological Park in Portharcourt, Rivers State of Southern Nigeria. The zoo which is located at Trans Amadi in Portharcourt is owned by the State Government.
The Zoo was created in 1974 by the military governor of Rivers State, Alfred Diete-Spifff . The Zoo did not go into operation fully until it was commissioned on the 1st October, 1975.
It was said to had started with Sixty- Seven animals with a breakdown of 37 mammals and 30 non mammals.
As at last count, Africa Animal Media investigation, AAM revealed that the zoo which was hitherto a tourist attraction to the people from south-south due to the present of beautiful and healthy animals such as Birds , Monkeys, Tortoise, Lions , Tigers and Elephants, has become a ghost of itself as most of those animals are dead due to lack of proper feedings and medical cares.
A former worker in the Zoo who begged for anonymity said the zoo only received a second attention in 1999 from the then governor , Peter Odili , 24 years after it was established.
He also disclosed that the zoo had been over grown with weeds making the animals been attacked by dangerous insects and reptiles that usually leads to illness and eventual death as a result of adequate medical intervention.
The former Animal Keeper added that majority of animals died as a result of starvation and health challenges, stressing that he decided to resign to safe his life following the near death experience he had in an encounter with the only surviving lion in the zoo sometime last year .
“I was nearly devoured by King of the jungle while attending to it when it was hungry “ he revealed
He explained that he used to be some how friendly with the lion but was surprised on that fateful day that the lion ran wild.
He though attributed the behavior to hunger and lack of adequate care to the lion , whose present condition like all other animals there can never be imagined.
The check further revealed that the total number of Animals in the zoo now are Eight bird , a Lion , two monkeys and a tortoise meaning almost sixty animals were dead or stolen from the zoo.
The age of the surviving lion in the zoo was said to be Twelve while those of the monkeys were fourteen and thirteen respectively.
Although, the Present administration of Governor Nyesom Wike has commenced the renovation of the facilities hosting the animals , having received backlashes from residents of the city whose eyes have almost lost touch with nature due the comatose situation of tourism sector in the state .
Animals deserve a better life, let give them the care by promoting their wellbeing.
Stories: By Africa Animal Media , AAM