Dr Goni Commissions First Zoo in Kogi, Commends FUL Vice Chancellor

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The Federal University, Lokoja Zoo and Conservatory (FULZAC) was on Thursday commissioned for practical learning experiences in biodiversity, wildlife and recreation.

Inaugurating the project at the Felele Campus of the university, the Conservator-General of Nigeria, Dr Ibrahim Musa Goni said the center has immense significance, and expedient for practical learning experiences of students of the institution.

According to him, the Center also has the potential to contribute to global conservation efforts adding that Nigeria, as a nation rich in natural and cultural diversity, the protection of its natural resources would always be of utmost importance.

“The role of zoos and conservatories in the preservation and protection of biodiversity cannot be overstated. They serve as living laboratories, fostering deep understanding and appreciation for the natural world.

Goni added that zoos are also revenue sources, noting that the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) has it that approximately 180 million people visit AZA accredited zoos and aquariums each year, contributing about $24 Billion to the U.S Economy.

“Travel and tourism in Nigeria are estimated to contribute about 3.6 per cent to Nigeria’s GDP annually, which is equal to around 17.3 billion U.S dollars”, The Conservator-General of the National Park Service said.

Dr Goni applauded the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Olayemi Akinwumi and his team, and expressed the belief that through effective collaboration between the academia, conservationists, and government, objectives of the center would be achieved.

In his welcome address, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Akinwumi said the Zoo and Conservatory Center would serve Educational, Conservatory and Recreational purposes.

He described it as an educational resource, providing a living laboratory for students and researchers in the fields of biology, environmental science, and wildlife management.

The Vice-Chancellor said FULZAC was also a conservation effort aimed at preserving and protecting endangered species and their habitats.

“By creating a safe haven for various animal species, we are not only contributing to global conservation efforts but also raising awareness about the importance of protecting our natural world.

He said that the Center, fitted with children amusement and recreational facilities, would serve as a recreational and educational facility for the people of Lokoja and its environs, providing a space where families, tourists, and wildlife enthusiasts can learn about Nigeria’s rich natural heritage.

Prof. Akinwumi acknowledged the contributions of key individuals and organizations as well as staff of the university for their generous donations and dedication which were critical in bringing the project to fruition.

Director of FULZAC, Prof. Jacqueline Badaki said with the ever-changing wild landscape being ripped apart by climate change and habitat loss, captive breeding programs are needed more than ever to ensure the survival of some of species that cannot survive on their own.

In her overview of the project, she said, FULZAC provides the normal services rendered by a zoo, to display animals to the public, and in some cases breed the animals for conservation, education and research purposes.

The occasion featured goodwill messages from the State Commissioner for Environment, Joseph Olusegun, some members of the academic staff with a Vote of thanks from the University’s Registrar, Dr Rebecca Okojie.

Highpoint of the event was the inauguration of the FULAC by the Maigari of Lokoja, Alhaji Ibrahim Gambo Kabir Maikarfi III and visit to various categories and species of animals in their new abodes.

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