Sunday, 17 July 2011

Investor Moving Ahead At Hope Zoo

Investor Moving Ahead at Hope Zoo
After a lovely early afternoon pastry stop at Devon House on June 16, a group of us moved our enjoyment to the Hope Zoo. I was eager to see the progress of the upgrading, and our timing was fortunate as we were able to meet a person who is very special to the zoo.

More palm trees have gone in and the perimeter fencing is more completely installed but a zookeeper told us that the property had been leased, and we shortly saw that the lessor was there on site.

Entrepreneur Kenny Benjamin was kind enough to share the aims of his recent acquisition although he said that it was not going to make any money. He said that their plans will see the number of exhibits increase in a phased way to be complete in time for the nation's 50th anniversary celebrations in August 2012 (Jamaica 50). His former zoo, the Guardsman Serenity Park, he said, was closed as it became flood prone after Highway 2000 was built.

Mr Benjamin said that they were working on five enclosures for Hope Zoo that will include the introduction of two lion pairs and a dozen flamingos. He frankly said that the cost of caring for the animals will mean that the zoo entry fees will be increased. Schoolchildren visiting in uniform during the school week, he said, would enter at no cost.

I was especially pleased to learn that youth groups will be required to participate in an educational exercise before going in to see the animals. A few minutes before our conversation, I saw a child in a group stone one of the large crocodiles. A zookeeper also said that despite warnings, people still go very close to the ostriches, and some lose their property. They eat anything except tomatoes, he said, and could report that a cell phone recovered from their enclosure will never make another call.