The Guyana Zoo in Georgetown was closed yesterday due to flooding.
A notice issued by the Protected Areas Commission on its Facebook and Instagram pages yesterday stated, “The public is hereby notified that the Guyana Zoo will be closed today, Thursday July 19, 2018 due to severe flooding.”
A notice was also posted at the entrance to the zoo.
A compromised drainage system and heavy rainfall yesterday were credited with the flooding. If the heavy rainfall continues today, the zoo will remain closed.
Stabroek News was unable to gain access to the zoo to observe the severity of the flooding. Permission was not granted by the Protected Areas Commission (PAC), which overlooks the zoo’s operations.
However, Deputy Commissioner of the PAC Odacy Davis yesterday related that it was the second time in two weeks that the zoo had to be closed to the public due to the inclement weather.
“We had to close the zoo as a means of taking precautions. Some of the walkways are flooded and persons would not be able to view the animals,” she said, while noting that none of the cages was under water.
Commissioner of the PAC Denise Fraser, in a brief interview, explained that the flooding in the zoo has been an issue they have been battling with as she noted that the drainage system is fragile. “We are dealing with a very old drainage system. Not only is the zoo threatened but the [Botanical] Gardens also. We have an ancient drainage system,” she pointed out.
Fraser said while the PAC is prepared to undertake rehabilitation works on the internal drains, once funding is available, the external drainage also needs to be rehabilitated but that does not fall under their authority.
Davis explained that even in good weather, floodwater takes a long time to drain from the zoo. Whenever there is overtopping of the drains, she said, they have to take necessary precautions, which in most cases result in a temporary closure of the zoo. She indicated that overtopping of the nearby Lamaha Canal also contributes to areas being inundated.