Kaduna Zoo blocks journalists from entering facilities after photos of a starving lion and other animals went viral
The Splash Park administration, the Kaduna mini zoo administrators have closed their doors, preventing anyone, including journalists, from accessing the zoo where photos of a hungry lion were taken that went viral a few days ago.
The Daily Trust reported that its correspondent was barred from the mini zoo on the grounds that the animals were receiving routine treatment and that only a letter from the state government will grant journalists access.
Zoo administrator Innocent Ameh reportedly said the images trending online were not from the zoo. Ameh further stated that he was under strict instructions from the Kaduna State Ministry of Agriculture not to allow anyone to enter the zoo. He acknowledged seeing the photos of the starving animals online, but hinted that he had laughed knowing the photos weren’t from the zoo.
The zoo administrator also claimed that the routine treatment that will include vaccinations began on Friday, November 13, but could not clearly tell reporters when it will end.
“Some wildlife experts came with a letter from Abuja saying they saw some photos and wanted to see the lion. We showed them to confirm by their letter and it was even time to eat, so we gave them the lion goat and they said, ‘heh, social media.’ So on this social media issue, it was like a few years ago, they said the lion killed someone.
“It is normal for animals to be isolated during routine treatment because they are being vaccinated, so it will be risky to allow people access to them while this is happening.”
However, when contacted by Kaduna State Agriculture Commissioner Halima Lawal, she denied the claim and also said that they cannot give 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 is not run by the Kaduna state government. It is in charge of the individual who was given the zoo to who is in charge of caring for the animals as a money-generating company ”.