By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Construction on the first ever ‘petting zoo’ in Guyana has commenced and is moving apace.
While on a visit to the area, located in the Botanical Gardens on Thursday morning (March 6) iNews observed contractors carrying out work on the foundation.
Also visiting was Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Robert Persaud and Commissioner of the Protected Areas Commission Damien Fernandes (under whose remit the zoo falls) was also present.
Fernandes said now that the Commission has ‘started the ball rolling’; private sector support is becoming increasingly important. He said the tone going forward will depend greatly on donations from the private sector.
Meanwhile, Minister Persaud also echoed sentiments calling for corporate support for sporting and recreational activities as he reminded of ongoing works to modernize the National Park, Botanical Gardens and the Zoological Park.
He urged citizens to ensure that these facilities are used in a manner that shows care and respect and saidefforts are afoot to make these spaces safer.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment in collaboration with the Protected Areas Commission on January 28 signed a $32M contract for the construction of a petting zoo under the Threes Park Initiative.
The Contractor, Alvin Chowramootoo had said then that that there will be no difficulty in constructing the facility which he says entails basic and civil works. The construction is expected to be completed within four to five months.
Persaud also registered his disappointment then in the response of the private sector to the idea. In this regard he has called on all to play a role [however they can] and be a part of helping to improve the zoo and the gardens within which it is found.
He believes that the petting zoo will also serve to change the cruel culture that currently exists within the Guyanese society when dealing with animals.
Petting zoos are a common feature of most modern zoos and are meant to provide a contrast to the usual zoo experience. It provides for the opportunity for to physically interact with animals and will provide a highly effective means of educating individuals on issues life wildlife conservation, humane treatment of animals and generally develop an increased sense of appreciation and empathy for animals.