Concerns voiced over impact of flag raising fireworks on zoo animals

While the fireworks display at the end of tonight’s flag raising ceremony at D’Urban Park is expected to leave spectators in awe, concerns have been raised about the effect it will have on the animals that dwell in the nearby Guyana Zoological Park and Botanical Gardens.

Prince Dryden, a supervisor at the Guyana Zoological Park, told Stabroek News that the use of pyrotechnics during rehearsals at D’Urban Park has resulted in close monitoring of the animals at the zoo.

Noting that the noise from fireworks displays sometimes affects humans, Dryden explained that some animals have more sensitive hearing and the shooting off of the fireworks frightens them.

This is especially true, he said, in the cases of the big cats, such as the jaguars, ocelots and pumas, as well as with the primates that are being housed at the zoo, since these two groups of animals seem to be the most affected.

As a result, Dryden expressed his concern for the animals, while adding that personnel at the zoo are currently trying to make the animals as comfortable as possible while they hope something is done to address the issue.

In 2011, the Botanical Gardens were declared a bird sanctuary, with over 189 bird species from 41 families recorded there. However, Stabroek News was told that birds from the sanctuary have been seen scattering from their nests, some of which are located just across the road from the D’Urban Park, during the course of the display.

When contacted last evening, Commissioner of the Protected Areas Commission, Damian Fernandes, related to Stabroek News that he has not yet been briefed on the extent of this evening’s fireworks display and therefore could not pronounce on the level at which the animals or birds would be affected.

Nevertheless, he assured this newspaper that he is indeed making attempts to get that information from the relevant bodies to ascertain whether or not a contingency plan is needed to address concerns as it relates to the fireworks display.

Meanwhile, when contacted for a comment on the issue, Special Project Officer for the celebrations Lennox Canterbury suggested that contact be made with the Guyana Defence Force, which is conducting the display.

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