Following the trending photos of a starving lion the Management of Splash Park, the mini zoo in Kaduna, has shut its gates to visitors and preventing anyone including journalists from gaining access into the zoo.
According to reports, reporters who visited the park on Wednesday were barred from accessing the zoo, claiming that the animals were undertaking routine treatment and that only a letter from the state government will grant journalists access.
Innocent Ameh, manager of the Zoo, however, also said that the pictures trending online were not from the zoo.
He added that he was under strict instructions by the Kaduna State Ministry of Agriculture not to allow anyone gain entry into the zoo.
“Some wildlife experts came with a letter from Abuja that they saw some pictures and they wanted to see the lion. We showed them to confirm because of their letter and it was even feeding time so we gave the lion goat and they said: ‘heh social media.’ So this issue of social media, it was just like some years ago they said the lion killed someone,” he said.
Ameh explained that the routine treatment which had commenced on Friday for the animals, including the starving Lion, will include vaccinations but could not clearly tell journalists when it will end.
“It is normal for the animals to be isolated during routine treatment because they are being vaccinated, so it will be risky to allow people to have access to them while this is going on,” he said.
The Kaduna State Commissioner of Agriculture, Halima Lawal, however, denied giving instructions to bar people from visiting the zoo.
She said she could not have given such a directive as the zoo was a private business and not owned by the state government.
“That zoo is for a concessionaire, it has been privatized and it is not run by the Kaduna State government. It is run by the private person that they gave the zoo to who is responsible for looking after the animals as a money generating venture,” Lawal said.
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