Tuesday, January 17, 2012

New Zoo needs funding

Source: Highlands Region, Post Courier, january 17, 2012
A newly established zoo in Western Highlands Province needs provincial government funding for completion before it opens for tourists from both national and overseas to visit in February.
Raldeng Zoo, Culture, Guest House and Convention Centre are a mini zoo established by Richard Lazarus an economics graduate from the University of Papua New Guinea at Kelua Village 10 minutes drive from Mt Hagen City.
Mr Lazarus said the idea of establishing a zoo in his village came about when he was in the community school back in the 1990’s. He was motivated after several visits to the Baiyer Zoo or the Wildlife Sanctuary in the Baiyer Valley.
“My dream of setting up a zoo and a culture centre started then so I started collecting varieties of flower plants and trees and planted the only food garden plot. The two hectares of garden land was eventually covered by trees and flower plants over the years,” he said.
Mr Lazarus said last year he resigned from Digicel PNG and went back to his home to establish the zoo that he had always dreamed of.
“After graduating from UPNG I worked with Digicel PNG but early last year I resigned to build this zoo. With the little earnings I got from the my former employment I decided to put it into good use by buying different animal species of birds, snakes, cuscus, ducks, and orchids from Jimi, Baiyer, Kopun, and Madang. I built the 20 metre cane bridge on top of the tree canopies in which the canes were brought from Las Kopun, a place near Madang,” he said.
Mr Lazarus said that with the run down state of the Baiyer Zoo, the only wildlife sanctuary in the province, tourism has come to a standstill.
He said Western Highlands Province was renowned for its rich cultural heritage like the Kuk Heritage and Baiyer Zoo that has attracted many tourists in the late 90’s. But mismanagement and land disputes resulted in halting the thriving tourism industry.
“My set up is a mini-zoo, cultural heritage, guest house and a convention centre established to preserve some of Western Highlands cultures, bird species, orchards, tree plants, cuscus and other traditional customs that would be on showcase by the locals for tourists.
“I am therefore calling on the provincial government and culture loving Western Highlanders to donate cash to complete the zoo before having it launched on February,” Mr Lazarus said.
He said the zoo has been registered with investment Promotion Authority and other interesting parties who wish to donate in cash or kind should contact him on 71971365 or 76555317.

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