A Kaduna-based Animal Rights Group have called on Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai to close the mini zoo at the popular Gamji Amusement Park over what it described as the deplorable conditions of the area, and how it poses serious health threat to the animals.
The group, in a statement from its protem chairman, Comrade Yusuf M. Yusuf, after he visited the zoo, expressed shock on the way and manner the animals are kept without proper sanitary equipment and good care.
He added that the group was formed in order to sensitise the government and the general public on rights of animals, especially wild animals kept at zoos across the country.
He maintained that the group has scheduled visitations to all the zoos across Nigeria in order to acquaint themselves with the conditions of the animals and proffer various solutions that would improve their living conditions, as well as enhancing the revenue generation of the zoos.
In particular, the group was miffed and shocked over the absence of water in all of the different animal enclosures, a situation that put the species in a dire strait at the mini zoo in Kaduna.
He posits that: “as I was walking through the gates I recall with nostalgia how the place looked like fifteen years ago. The zoo and the entire complex is overgrown with weeds and shrubs. The West African Lion at the zoo — a critically endangered species that has less than 250 matured lions alive — is in a state of improper care and its enclosure is not fit for it to survive.
“There are variety of different animals ranging from the African spotted Hyena, porcupine, tortoise, ostrich and many more.
“What is depressing which also captured my attention was the living conditions of these species. The entire complex is filthy and a dungeon for psychological torture of these animals, most especially the West African Lion.”
Comrade Yusuf, however, added that with proper care and rehabilitation the zoo can become a breeding center, while calling on the Kaduna state government and the private firm that took over the management of the park, to give proper attention, particularly to the African Lion by providing a bigger enclosure for its physical and psychological health.
Responding, the officer supervising the complex on behalf of the firm, who craved anonymity, acknowledged the fifthly conditions of the complex and the zoo, adding that the state government has leased the entire complex to them and they have not yet finished taking over.
He stated that Splash Park Limited will start the upgrading process of the complex in phases, stressing that water park, trampoline park, Movie Theater, event centre and many relaxations spot will be provided.
He, however, added that, their firm is an entertainment based organization, but they are making arrangements for a proper care of the animals. When asked further on the nature of the lease, he refused to disclose the stated period, insisting that it is only his executive director, who was not available during the visit, that can provide such information.
Recently, the Kaduna state government leased the entire Gamji Park to Splash Park Limited, an event and entertainment company.