The Management of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB) has revealed its desire to establish an Amusement Park within the beautiful ambiance of the University’s Zoo Parks and Garden.
The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Kolawole Salako who made this known at a 4-day International Training for Zookeepers and Curators, with the theme “Zoo Keeping in the Tropics: Strategies and Challenges”, said the University recently signed a Lease Agreement with Woodfields Farms Limited (operating as Omu Resorts) to establish an Amusement Centre inside FUNAAB Zoo Park.
Represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Christian Ikeobi, the Vice-Chancellor stated that the University is open to partnership with public-spirited individuals and corporate bodies towards taking FUNAAB Zoo and the University to greater heights.
According to him, “I appreciate our partners, both external and internal, in staging this Programme and look forward to more fruitful relationships with you. The University is desirous of partnering with public-spirited individuals and corporate bodies in taking our Zoo Park in particular and the University in general, to greater heights”.
Professor Salako stated that the International Training will no doubt address the challenges facing practitioners in the Zoo Industry and wildlife Management, while ensuring that FUNAAB Zoo evolves as one of the best University Zoos parks in the country that will make waves in animal care, conservation, Community and school education programs, adopting best and sound business practices.
Delivering the keynote address at the event, Professor Ibukunoluwa Ayodele who was represented by Professor Oluwagbemiga Ojo chronicled the developmental nature of Zoo Management in Africa and Nigeria in particular despite its relatively long history, stressing that the apt training is coming at a time when conservation challenges are greater and are impacting all levels of biodiversity and human wellbeing.
Professor Ayodele opined that for zoo parks to function optimally and play their important biodiversity conservation roles, well-trained and skilled manpower is essential.
According to him, “Members of staff are key to the successful management of the zoo and so Management must see to it that members of staff are well trained and aware of all safety regulations and protocols in the zoo. Animal management knowledge, skills and competencies are a core part of the zookeeper role”.
Corroborating him, the President, Nigeria Association of Zoological Gardens and Wildlife Parks (NAZAP) Barrister Oladipo Bali represented by the Assistant Secretary of the Association, Mr. Oluwadamilare Ajayi said that the Association has as its key priorities to lead the drive for global ethical practices and effective zoo management in Nigeria, stressing that the training was a major step in attaining the priority.
The Special Guest of Honour and pioneer Director, FUNAAB Zoo Park, Professor Samuel Onadeko who was represented by the immediate past Director of the Park, Professor Omotola Jayeola commended the University Management and the Acting Director for keeping the flag of the Zoo flying.
Earlier in his Welcome Address, the Acting Director, FUNAAB Zoo Park, Dr. Oladapo Oduntan said the International Training was designed to update practitioners on new trends, promote interaction and sharing of ideas for enhanced service delivery