Last Updated on Sunday, 8 February 2015, 23:56 by GxMediaGuyana on Sunday opened a GUY$35 million Petting Zoo which officials said would eventually be the home of several types of animals from Africa, according to Environmental Minister, Robert Persaud.
“Just recently, we have been able to conclude a zoo-to-zoo exchange programme and this zoo-to-zoo exchange programme will see us having a batch of new animals and species that you can find within Guyana and even South America and we are having some of these brought from as far as Africa which will be coming and populating our zoo,” he said.
Persaud further announced that the holding pens and other facilities are being constructed for the new intake. He told Demerara Waves Online News that efforts are underway to bring zebras, lions and other animals.
Housed at the Botanical Gardens, the Petting Zoo is expected to be a long-term educational opportunity about local and global biodiversity. “The objective of the zoo is to create an environment where children can more interact with the animals- certain species that are harmless…It’s more of an educational experience plus an appreciation of Guyana’s rich biodiversity,” he said.
Against the background of past concerns about the way the existing zoo population was being treated, the Environment Minister assured that corporate entities and volunteers were working to acquire and maintain acceptable standards. “…one that we can ensure that the animals that we have and the birds that we have that we can have them housed in a very decent, safe and also in a visitor-friendly way,” he said. Volunteers include university students and officials of the United Nations Development Programme.
Persaud said that efforts were being made to boost security for the zoo that attracts more than 10,000 visitors monthly. “We have engaged the police force and we are looking at other ways of installing more cameras in the environs so that we can have a handle on who is coming and who is coming in terms of the type of activities,” he said.
The Environment Minister defended the investment in the project, saying that it is long-term and would be educational for children and tourists alike.