ZOO MANAGEMENT AND TOURIST INFLUX IN UNILORIN ZOOLOGICAL GARDEN, ILORIN, NIGERIA
This study assesses the zoo management practices through a visit to the Unilorin zoo with a view to establish its current status. An exploratory survey was conducted through personal observation and in-depth interviewing while records of tourists’ patronage were obtained through administrative records. The results showed that more than forty-five (45) different species of animal were stocked between 1978 and 2018. The majority (fourteen species) of the stock were recruited in 2011 while the least was in 1978, 1985, and 2015. The food and feeding pattern of stock revealed carnivorous animals such as lion, leopard, crocodiles, hyena are usually fed 3 to 5 times a week (with exception of Jackal, snakes, and carnivorous birds which are fed once daily) while herbivorous animals eat on daily basis. The result further shows an increasing trend in tourists’ population from 5,819 in 2009 to 51,232 in 2015 but a declined patronage was noticed in 2016, 2017, and 2018, where tourists dropped to 47,803; 43,222, and 40,944 respectively. However, the zoo is developing with challenges and complications which arose from, insufficient funding and erroneous design of animal housing, however, they are, dedicating their efforts and resources to maintaining ethical principles of animal welfare and preserving nature.