Feb 27, 2012 News
The National Parks Commission (NPC) has issued a statement clarifying what they describe as “gross misconceptions by various stakeholders and sections of the media regarding the management of the Botanical Gardens, Zoological Park and National Park”.
According to the statement, the NPC said that they have not entered any agreement with the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission or any other organization for the acquisition of an elephant.
“We would like to categorically reject any falsehood that the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission is paying for an elephant for the Zoological Park contrary to media reports”. In yesterday’s edition of the Stabroek News there were reports suggesting that this was being done.
“However it must be noted, that the management of the NPC is currently in discussion with its international partners on improving the Zoologial Park and the possibilities of introducing an elephant as an added attraction as part of its strategic plan.
“The National Parks Commission (NPC) which has oversight for the Zoo in collaboration with the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment under whose authority the zoo falls is preparing a systematic plan for the development and expansion of the Zoological Park. This is being done with the involvement of international expertise”.
Further it was stated that the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment through the NPC has already begun work to develop Friends of Parks and Gardens. This initiative is expected to set a platform on which citizens can be involved in the improvement of the Botanical Gardens, Zoological Park and National Park, which is crucial to ensuring a healthy and sustainable environment for future generations.
The release further stated that it is also anticipated that the Friends group will support meaningful activities in education experiences, construction of new exhibits and support conservation works on the Parks.
“Hence, in an effort to ensure a partnership approach is taken to help manage the collective biodiversity in the city, the Ministry proposed a Friends of Parks and Gardens initiative”. Already several meetings were held with relevant stakeholders to chart a course to continue to the work of rehabilitating the Botanical Gardens, Zoological Park and National Park; a national patrimony.
Further, a Strategic Plan for the zoo is being developed and in this regard work has already begun by utilizing the expertise of its international partners and friends. The plan will provide for improved technical assistance, infrastructure and drainage development and specialized staff training among other expertise.
It has also been noted that most of the zoo’s exhibits are at least four decades old and some do not meet the changing standards of modern zoos.
“Given the age of the facility and the existence of the structures, this is likely to be a costly and technically demanding process…expansion opportunities would come by using the site’s landform more advantageously”
While the Strategic Plan which is expected to have several phases is being developed, discussions are being held on what kind of animals the zoo wants to source. The Friends of the Zoo are directly involved in this process.
The plan includes the construction of a cat range, creation of more natural animal enclosures and enhancement of the existing ones, development of zoo infrastructure and addition to public amenities among other proposals. Plans have also been made to develop such enclosures that would have enough space for the flying birds where they would be able to breed.
The snake exhibit is currently being expanded to increase holding capacity and has incorporated natural substrates that mimic the environment. These actions all work into the larger plan of development and expansion.
The statement added that the Private Sector has responded to an appeal by the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment’s National Parks Commission in its effort to improve the aesthetics of the Botanical Gardens and the Zoological Park by undertaking the clearing of critical drainage canals to reduce water accumulation during periods of heavy rainfall.
It stated that the management of the NPC will continue to work closely with the Private Sector and other stakeholders in sponsoring events, supporting educational programmes, promoting conservation of endangered species and volunteerism. As such, MACORP – CAT, dealers in heavy duty equipment recently completed critical drainage works in the Zoological Park by providing an excavator which has facilitated the desilting of several waterways to alleviate flooding in the Zoo. The support resulted from calls by the National Parks Commission for corporate support to aid in the rehabilitation and upgrade works planned for the Zoo. With approximately 10,000 visitors per month, the Zoo is one of the community assets and corporate support is critical to building a bright future for the Zoo.
MACORP has made a significant contribution in this first step in a series of activities to support the rehabilitation of Zoological Park. Hence, the management of the NPC is looking forward to support from other corporate entities to provide additional support to further transform the Zoological Park and Botanical Gardens. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment’s National Parks Commission welcome constructive criticisms and will continue to engage all relevant stakeholders interested in transforming and boosting the attractions and services at the Zoological Park.
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