The Zoology department of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka has been thrown into mournful mood over the death of the only surviving male Chimpanzee (aka Old man) in the Zoo of the university, embalmed and preserved in the museum of the department.
Prof Chris Okoye Head of Department of Zoology and Environmental Studies, University of Nigeria Nsukka announced the death of the only surviving male Chimpanzee in the zoo of the university in an interview southeast Voice (SEV), adding that the department embalmed the old man and preserved it in the museum of the department for referrals students practicals, and research.
The HOD said that the Chimpanzee in the zoo lived over 50 years of age before it’s death while the female partner died five years ago, pointing out that the death of the Chimpanzee ends the existence of Chimpanzees in the zoo of the university.
” Staff and students of the department feel bad that the only surviving Chimpanzee in the zoo has died, though a result of old age as it was not responding to treatment
“As the tradition of the department, the Chimpanzee has been embalmed and deposited in the department Museum for practicals and for people on an excursion to the museum.
“We do not eat or bury animals in our zoo when they die rather we embalmed and keep them in the museum, ‘ he said..
“Efforts to replace the female Chimpanzee as well as some other animals that died in the zoo hit ‘ bricks wall’ because of paucity of fund by the university management,”he said.
On possible reasons why zoos were gradually going into extinction in the country, the HOD attributed it to low yielding revenue nature of zoos but very capital intensive to run and maintain.
“it costs a huge amount of money to buy animals like Chimpanzee, Lion, Antelopes, Zebra, Tiger, among others and feed them. It is capital intensive to run a healthy zoo but most essential in universities in the country”
“The N50 or N100 collected at the gate from visitors as toll is not even enough to feed these animals not to talk of maintaining them or getting replacement when any of the animals die.
He however said the zoo is very important as it provides protection for endangered species of animals and serves as a place for people to get connected to nature.
” Zoos play important roles in wildlife conservation, research, and education.
” Both federal and state governments should do something urgently to improve funding of zoos in the country else in the next 10 years zoo may completely go into extinction,” he said.
southeast Voice (SEV) went round the zoo of the university reports that the zoo is virtually empty in terms of animals as it can only boost of few monkeys, crocodile and over 40 years old tortoise while other animals has gone extinction in the zoo of the university.
Some parts of the zoo serve as relaxation for students as it no longer maintain it’s status due to lack of animals for decades without any hope in slight for replacement and procurement of new animals for students and visitors alike. The museum of the department were stocked with dead animals of different species for students practicals and research, SEV reports.