Excitement as Port Harcourt Zoo takes a New Look
From Akioma Amos Yenogoa
The Nigeria Travel Writers Corps wishes to share in the great expectation of the people of Rivers State as the Port Harcourt Zoo opens soon.
When the Writers Corps visited the Zoo on facility tour Saturday, there was excitement in the air as host community, Okujagu, in Port Harcourt Local Government Area of the state look forward to the return of tourists to the Zoo which was first opened on the 1st of October 1975.
Conceived by the Alfred Diete’s government in 1974, the Zoo hosted tourists from across the world as connoisseurs ogled over the diverse specie of wild life in the Zoo.
But over the years the Zoo have been left in decay and most of the wild life left dead out of negligence and paucity of fund. However, a new lease of life has been given to the Zoo by the extension of One Hundred Million Naira renovation grant to the Zoo by the Wike Administration
Engr. Kenneth Okonkwo, Site Engineer, speaking to members of the Corps on the work done stated that the first phase of the renovations is almost completed. While the second and third phases would see the Zoo come back to life.
Even as the Site Engineer could not reveal the due date for the reopening of the Zoo, on ground, it was apparent that work is now at advance stage with the administrative block, museum, snacks kiosk and the kitchen at finishing levels. The parameter fence was also in advance stage with the expectation that the staff quarters would be added in the second or final phase of the renovation.
Speaking, the Chairman of the Travel Writers Corps, Rivers State Chapter, Akpekwu Christopher Imbufe stated that he hopes the renovation work would bring a new lease to the Zoo but he also make bold to call for privatization of the Zoo to avoid it being bugged down by bureaucracy and inefficient management which was responsible for its shut down in the first place.
Mr. Imbufe also called on the state government to use the period under renovation to begin the training of staff for the Zoo and source for new wild life to replace the aging animals.