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JIS News

Patrons visiting the Hope Zoo will soon witness some changes, with the relocation of the petting zoo to another area on the compound.
Spearheading the project dubbed ‘Bringing back Hope to the Zoo’, is the Kiwanis Club of New Kingston, which initially planned to build a playground to add to the popular tree house, which was put in place more than a decade ago.
However, according to club president Doneth Reid, after consultation with the curator of the Zoo, it was decided that the club would focus on relocating the petting zoo, which is situated under the tree house.
“The whole purpose of the project is to give the children of Jamaica an opportunity to learn about their environment and interact and learn about some animals. It will also be another form of entertainment for children rather than having them sit in front of the television,” Ms. Reid told JIS News.
She explained that the project, which is expected to cost $6 million, would be officially launched on March 8 at 3:15 p.m. at the Hope Zoo. Governor of the Eastern Canada and the Caribbean District of the Kiwanis Club, Dr. John Button, is among several representatives from environmental agencies and ministries expected to attend the launch. The groundbreaking will follow shortly thereafter.
The president also disclosed that the petting zoo would “have stalls and a better overall structure” to quell the odour that emanates from its present location. The animals meanwhile, will be kept in storage during the relocation exercise. In addition, the project will include the refurbishing of the tree house.
With the impending relocation of the petting zoo, plans are afoot to convert the area to camp bunks, once a sponsor is identified.
Elaborating on how the funds would be secured to complete the project, Ms. Reid said that apart from seeking partnership with corporate Jamaica, the club would host a major fundraising activity in May.
This activity, she further expounded, would be in the form of an awards dinner for women, who have made significant contributions in various areas of Jamaica’s development. Honourees will include Dr. Heather Little-White for her contribution to nutrition and Dr. Blossom O’Meally Nelson for her contribution to the postal system. The project fits into the redevelopment plans to upgrade and restore both the Zoo and the Royal Botanical Gardens, to their former glory.
The Environmental Foundation of Jamaica (EFJ) has committed $60 million towards major renovations and repairs to these unique Jamaican attractions under its Urban Parks and Green Spaces project.
In this venture, the EFJ, in collaboration with the National Wildlife Foundation, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), has developed a master plan that includes improvement to present exhibits, the addition of new displays, upgrading of the gardens’ irrigation system, and the improvement of interpretive signs in both areas.
Hope Gardens and Hope Zoo are located on one of the largest single government-owned properties in the Kingston Metropolitan area, the 163-hectare property of Hope Estates.