Hunger has claimed the lives of over 250 animals worth over N38 million at the Imo State Zoological Garden and Wildlife Park.
The park, which is located in Nekede Anicent Kingdom in the state’s Owerri West Local Government Area (LGA), is home to a variety of animals, including three lions.
According to sources close to the garden, the surviving animals are on the verge of starvation.
It was discovered that feeding the approximately 500 animals for a month cost more than N1.2 million, plus some government subsidy that is no longer available. The Zoological Garden, which opened in 1976, is currently in jeopardy of extinction.
According to an inquiry by The Nation, the garden, which had previously been able to support itself by earning cash from local and foreign tourists, was no longer able to do so because the road connecting the zoo to the capital city of Owerri had collapsed due to an ecological calamity.
The only connected road, which was allegedly built by the Rochas Okorocha administration, collapsed before Hope Uzodimma took office.
Michael Benbruse, a foreign tourist who talked to The Nation, voiced his concern with the Zoo’s terrible condition.
“I’m a Russian citizen and an international tourist. I visited Imo Zoo today to see for myself how the animals are faring. But I must tell you that I’m emotionally traumatised with what I saw in the zoological garden.
“What I see here is a near-death condition of the lions and other animals which are not catered for,” Benbruse said.
The Head of Department (HOD), Forestry, Ozo Chino, refused to comment on the issue.
“I am just the HOD, not the permanent secretary or the commissioner,” Abisoye said.
“Over 250 of the animals have died because of hunger. To feed these animals costs just N1.2 million a month. And now the animals that we have lost are valued at over N38 million.
“The problem is not even whether the state government is giving us subvention or not, they can never get those species of animals we have lost because they are not animals you can get easily anywhere in the world.”