After months of closure, the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Hon. Samuel A. Jinapor, reopened the Accra Zoo to the general public on Friday, December 9, 2022, urging all Ghanaians and the diaspora to visit the Zoo as the festive season approaches.
“As we approach the festive season, I want to encourage all of us, both Ghanaians and foreigners alike and particularly our dear students to patronise and interact with nature. The Accra Zoo, I can assure you is safe, and you are all warmly welcome to visit.”
The Minister ordered the closure of the Zoo in August after an intruder was attacked by the lions.
Prior to this unfortunate incident, renovations were underway to strengthen security systems, provide more facilities for visitor comfort, and make the Zoo more interesting and exciting.
Speaking at the reopening ceremony, the Minister emphasised the importance of Zoos and ecotourism in general to the country’s socioeconomic development, emphasising that they provide an effective economic incentive for conservation and the protection of the ecosystem and biodiversity while creating jobs and generating income to support the national economy.
He exemplified that in Africa, Zoos and ecotourism have become a major boost to the economies of countries like Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Rwanda, and Zambia and hoped that Ghana’s Zoo would also place the country on such heights.
Zoos, he noted, are therefore critical to the conservation of terrestrial life and ecosystems, which Ghana is obligated to protect and conserve under Sustainable Development Goal 15.
Due to the many advantages, the Sector Minister disclosed that Government is adopting strategic measures to promote zoos and ecotourism in the country, adding that plans are far advanced to upgrade the three (3) regional zoos in Accra, Tamale, and Takoradi, to international standards and eventually establish zoos in all sixteen (16) regions of the country.
He announced that as part of measures to protect wildlife resources, Cabinet has approved a new Wildlife Resources Management Bill, to be laid in Parliament in the next couple of weeks, to among others, provide a new legal framework for the management of the wildlife resources.
He highly commended his Deputy responsible for Lands and Forestry, the CEO of the Forestry Commission, and the Forestry Commission staff for their tireless efforts in ensuring excellent leadership direction in the management of the forest and wildlife resources of the country.
The Chief Executive of the Forestry Commission, Mr. John Allotey in his welcome statement highlighted some recent developments of the Zoo, detailing that the Zoo now has a new visitors lounge with benches, street lights, access routes, camera traps installation at the lion’s den, bold signages with clear instructions, wider and higher cages and two iron gates constructed to intensify security in the Zoo.
He pointed out that security checkpoints have been mounted close to the lions’ enclosure for constant monitoring to prevent future unfortunate occurrences.
The CEO also disclosed that the Zoo has a Bat Research Center, established to study bat diseases and behavior and the only captive bat breeding population and research Center in the world.
The Accra Zoo has a total of 108 animals made up of monkeys, Antelopes, Birds, Crocodiles, Snakes, Lions, porcupines, Ostrich, and Geese, among others with an average visitation of 32,000 annually.