Friday, November 13, 2020

Journalists barred from accessing Kaduna zoo after trending pictures of starving lion

Following the trending pictures of a starving lion looking emaciated on various social media platforms surfaced, the Management of Splash Park, the managers of the mini zoo in Kaduna, has closed its gates, preventing anyone including journalists from gaining access into the zoo.

Our correspondents who visited the park on Wednesday were barred from accessing the mini zoo on the excuse that the animals were undertaking routine treatment and that only a letter from the state government will grant journalists access.

Speaking with Daily Trust, the Manager of the Zoo, Innocent Ameh said the pictures trending online were not from the zoo. Ameh said he was under strict instructions by the Kaduna State Ministry of Agriculture not to allow anyone gain entry into the zoo. He acknowledged seeing the pictures of the starving animals online but insinuated he had laughed it off knowing the pictures were not from 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.

The manager said the routine treatment which will include vaccinations had commenced on Friday 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.

However, our correspondent contacted the Kaduna State Commissioner of Agriculture, Halima Lawal whether the ministry had instructed the closure of the zoo but 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 

📸 Credit: Daily Trust

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