Scores Of Animals Escape Death As Hoodlums Set Imo Zoo Ablaze

LAGOS JANUARY 16TH (NEWSRANGRS)-The Imo state Zoo and Wildlife Park located along Nekede Old Road in Owerri, the state capital was allegedly set ablaze at the weekend by hoodlums suspected to be arsonists while scores of animals escaped death by whiskers.

The fire outbreak however, affected hundreds of endangered plant species as the men of the state fire service and staff of the complex fought to stop the raging fire from entering the entrance of the conservative areas of the zoo.

It would be recalled that fire is coming barely two months after indigenes of Nekede community invaded the zoo and laid claims to a forest within the facility, demanding the state government cede the forest to them.

Our correspondent reports that the fire incident occurred in the early hours of Saturday and eyewitnesses said that the blaze started from the reserved forest.

Folding questions from journalists in his office about the incident, the General Manager of the zoo, Mr. Francis Abioye said the extent of damage caused by the fire and the number of animals affected cannot be ascertained immediately because the animals were still in shock.

He said however, that the prompt response of the men of the state fire service saved the situation, stating that “what we lost so much was the endangered plant species. We lost hundreds of them.

“But, for the animals, we cannot ascertain the number of casualties for now since the fire did not cover everywhere. If it had covered everywhere, by now, most of the animals would not have escaped and we would have seen their carcasses.

“But now, those animals that ran away from the scene of the fire may not survive the shock and heat of the fire. It’s after some days or week that you begin to see them dropping dead. So, it may be too early now to begin to access the level of damage in terms of the number of animals.

“Just on Saturday in the morning around 9.30 am, I got a call from my staff that the zoo is on fire. I quickly called the fire servicemen who promptly arrived coupled with our staff that were on ground in our staff quarters. That helped us to curtail the fire.

“We thank God that the fire had not gone into the conversation area before the men of the fire service arrived. If it had entered the deep and thick reserved area where nobody could have been able to fight the fire, it would have been collateral destruction for the zoo because nobody would have been able to navigate through the forest to fight and quench the fire.

“It was only within the buffer zone that the fire burnt before the men of the fire service quickly came in.”

According to him, the management of the zoo suspects sabotage, but cannot for now trace it to anybody until after the completion of investigation into the incident by the state government.

“It may be wrong to begin to point accusing fingers at people who invaded the zoo in the past few months. The reason is that the invaders did not hide themselves.

“They came out openly to admit they invaded the zoo. But, since this incident happened, nobody has taken responsibility. So, we cannot accuse anyone of being responsible until after investigation,” he added.


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Posted by on Jan 16 2020. Filed under National. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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