Wildlife director clarifies

Thursday, September 18, 2008
Following reports of the escape of a hyena from the Abuko Nature Reserve, Mr Alpha Omar Jallow, the director of Parks and Wildlife Management, has blamed the incidence on "a serious" brawl among hyenas housed in the same enclosure at the reserve.

In an exclusive interview with the Daily Observer at the Abuko Nature Reserve, Mr Jallow also pointed a finger at the youths of the area for their indirect contribution in the eventual escape of the animal.

He told this reporter that the animals had engaged in a fight during the late hours of the night, and that only two watchmen, who could not control the beasts, were on hand at the time. An investigation later revealed that the escaped hyena, which had apparently been disturbed during the course of the fight, succeeded in breaking through the double-chain link fence of the enclosure, forcing its way out of the zoo.

"The escaped hyena would have stayed in the zoo if the newly constructed main fence had not been destroyed by the youths of the area, who continue to cause more destruction to the park as they always jump over the fence to play football in the extension park as well as to fetch firewood," the Parks and Wildlife boss explained. He noted that the escaped animal was captured the same day and brought back to the park.

In a bid to allay fears, Mr Jallow emphasised that the hyenas were used to human beings, and that as such, the tendency for them to hurt people was very limited, "except in cases of self-defence".

On the mechanisms put in place to stop future escapes, Mr Jallow revealed that they had already mended the parts of the fence destroyed by the youths, and "we are trying to reinforce security around the hyenas’ enclosure, so as to avoid future escapes".

The parks and wildlife director put forward a strong appeal to inhabitants of the satellite villages to discourage their youths from conducting their activities in the park, saying that the youths have become major threats to the Nature Reserve.

He then assured the general public of his department’s resolve to ensure that the wild animals were under control.

Author: by Hatab Fadera