Members of staff of the Imo State Zoological Garden and Wildlife Park, Nekede on Saturday gave a stiff resistance to the evacuation of animals at the zoo to Jos, Plateau State.
The staff also demanded the payment of their 10-month arrears of salaries.
Our correspondent gathered that the protesting staff were infuriated the more when the Jos Zoo administrators who wanted to carry out the evacuation refused inventories and pictures to be taken.
A source said; “Serious crisis is going on in Imo zoo right now. Trapping equipment just arrived the zoo now to evacuate all animals to Jos Zoo.
“Staff are currently in a showdown with those who came to evacuate the animals.
The source further disclosed that a housing estate is being planned at the Nekede Zoo once the evaluation of the animals is successful achieved.
He said; “The proposal is likely to be for conversion of the zoo land to estate. There is heavy police visibility in the area.
“The staff are demanding 10 months salary arrears, Jos Zoo administrators are refusing demand for inventories and picture evidence”.
The Public Relations Officer of the State Ministry of Tourism, Ben Uwakwe said he could not comment on the development since he does have any brief on the matter.
Uwakwe promised to get back to National Newsbreak on Monday when he must have been briefed on the issue.
He said; “I don’t know about this. I am hearing it from you. When I get to the office on Monday, I will be able to have a grasp of any development at the zoo then I could get back to you”.
All efforts made to get the state Commissioner for Tourism, Jerry Egemba, a lawyer comment on the development failed to yield results.
Egemba not only failed to pick his calls but also was yet to respond to a message sent to his phone before press time.
The Imo State Zoological Garden and Wildlife Park Nekede is the only surviving zoo in the South East.