Bamako, Mali, 20 June 2013 – The National Zoo of Mali was inaugurated today after 24 months of rehabilitation and expansion undertaken through a non-profit public-private partnership (PPP) led by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC).
The Minister of Environment and Sanitation, Mr Ousmane Ag Rhissa, and the Minister of Culture, Mr Bruno Maiga, were joined by Mr Luis Monreal, General Manager of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, and Mr. Ferid Nandjee, Resident Representative of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) in Mali.
The newly renovated Zoo is now home to over 100 animal species, including 17 species of mammals, and features elephants, turtles, gazelles and primates. It also encompasses 21 species of birds, 13 species of reptiles and 58 species of fish.
Built over six hectares, the new Zoo recreates natural habitats that respect the needs of animals while following international zoo standards. The habitats include trees and hammocks for chimpanzees, a small forest and an artificial river for lions, and habitats specially designed for deer, buffaloes and ostriches. Newly created pathways lead to a large aviary, a new aquarium and a new vivarium.
In addition to providing a space for relaxation and leisure, the Zoo also functions as an indispensable tool for research, knowledge preservation and the conservation of animal species. Special attention has been given to the care of endangered African species in a bid to safeguard the genetic heritage of wild species.
The Zoo will also represent an important educational resource, particularly for school children in the capital, by providing information on animals and species, staging exhibitions, organizing meetings between trainers/facilitators and the public, running educational workshops and operating guided tours. Visitors will also have access to documentary screenings, readings and storytelling sessions.
The Zoo’s opening follows the rehabilitation of the adjacent botanical park of Mali, opened in September 2010, which was also led by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture under the PPP signed with the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Environment and Sanitation. The PPP covers the construction, management, maintenance and development of the botanical and zoological parks (“National Park of Mali”) over the next 25 years. The non-profit PPP reinvests any surplus revenue generated from the activities into the project. The 25-year agreement is meant to ensure that the National Park of Mali becomes self-sustaining rather than a burden on the municipality of Bamako.
Fifty jobs have been created for the management and maintenance of the Zoo and more than a hundred for the Botanical Park.
The National Park of Mali is part of a wider urban regeneration programme, implemented by AKTC, which includes several historical and cultural sites in Bamako, Mopti, Timbuktu and Djenne.
Source: Aga Khan Development Network