Saturday, February 24, 2007
Kumasi Zoo poised to achieve Glory
From: Frank Otchere
LOCATED at the heart of Kumasi and lying contiguous to the ever busy Kejetia Lorry station is an enclosed sprawling and undulating semi deciduous forest that shelters the Kumasi Zoogical Games.
It is popularly known as the Kumasi Zoo, and has over the years remained one of the most prized tourist attraction centers after the Manhyia Palace and the Okomfo Anokye sword planted on the premises of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital.
The Kumasi Zoo in the past attracted a lot of attention from the youth in particular apparently because it showcases a wide variety of wild animals including lions, leopards, snakes and chimpanzees.
Today, the Zoo seems to have lost its glamour and heavy patronage due to the death of some of the animals notably the elephants and the giant sized chimps, but the good news is that it is undergoing a major transformation process.
The cages and other structures at the Zoo are being rehabilitated in readiness to receive about 52 different species of animals from the Accra Zoological gardens.
The animals have been displaced due to the planned demolition of the Accra Zoo to give way to the construction of the Presidential Palace.
Briefing The Spectator, Mr. Emmanuel Darkwa Nimo, the Kumasi Zoo Manager, indicated that 22 cages of various sizes have already been rehabilitated.
The only new structure constructed is meant to serve as a geese and duck pond. According to Mr. Nimo, the actual transfer of the animals from Accra to Kumasi is scheduled to begin this week.
“All the cages are ready and we have taken them over from the constructors for enrichment in readiness to accommodate the animals from Accra,” he said.
Animals being expected from Accra include a leopard, camel, lions, hyenas, ostriches, eagle, African pythons, African civets, palm nut vulture, geese, monkeys and birds.
In all, ¢1.2 billion is being spent on the rehabilitation of the cages and transportation of the animals from Accra to Kumasi.
Though all appear set for the Kumasi Zoo to recapture its former grandeur one thing poses a major hindrance to its transformation programme.
It is the heavily polluted Subin drain traversing the Zoo which poses a health hazards to some of the animals.
The management has consequently appealed to the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) to dredge the drain to ensure a free flow of the river.
The 14-member Zoo Advisory Board including Professor J. Owusu Addo and Nana Kwabena Dwomoh Sarpong who inspected the rehabilitated cages last Friday were happy with the quality of work done.
The Board, however registered its strong protest against the discharge of waste water from the nearby Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital into a gutter running through the Zoo into the Subin drain.
It is the brief of residents of the metropolis that the refurbished Zoo would become another plus to the tourism potential of the city and Ashanti as a whole.
At the Accra Zoo Dr. Richard D. Suu-Ire is ensuring the health status of the animals.
The Zoo which is home to many animals and bird species including the almost extinct and endangered monkeys would be eventually relocated at the Achimota Forest in Accra.
But due to the urgency of the construction work on the Presidential Palace and the slow pace at which the Achimota Forest would be ready in two years time, the animals and birds are to take temporary shelter in the Kumasi Zoo in the Ashanti Region.
“These animals including all kinds of reptiles, snakes, crocodiles, rodents and birds would have to join their host at the Kumasi Zoo until the structures are put in place at the proposed Achimota Zoo in Accra in two years to come,” Dr. Suu-Ire said.
“The perforated wooden crates you are looking at here contain snakes, crocodiles and rodents which are ready to be transported to Kumasi, their new abode, Sr. Suu-lre told The Spectator.
He explains that this was phase one of the Accra Zoo to the Kumasi Zoo adding that the second phase of the transfer would include all the bird species. A few metres away, construction workers wearing safety helmets are busily mixing concrete and erecting iron rods at the project site of the Presidential Palace.
Dr. Suu-lre who conducted this reporter round the Accra Zoo said 169miles or 260 kilometres from Accra to Kumasi is not a short journey for these reptiles, and rodents. There is the need to stop along the road to Kumasi to water the Crocodiles and snakes or else they would die from exhaustion along the route.
“Our duty as Veterinary Officers is to ensure that the animals at the Kumasi Zoo are examined to ensure that they are healthy,” he pointed out saying the same medical examination applies to animals at the Accra Zoo.
The objective of the medical examination of animals from the two zoos is to make sure that none of the animal and bird species is sick so as not to contaminate the others with any sickness.
Should we find any animal sick, we will treat it and ensure it is healthy before it can live with its counter parts.
Dr. Suu-lre said, however, that the Achimota Forest would serve as a breeding centre for endangered species such as the moneys and duikers.
“These are animals that would not find their way to the Kumasi Zoo, he told The Spectator.
The Spectator - Saturday, February 24, 2007 Page: 19