A philanthropist, Innocent Onwubiko, on Wednesday formally adopted three lions from the Imo Zoological Garden and Wildlife Park, Owerri.
The General Manager of the park, Mr Francis Abioye, said the adoption followed the signing of a one-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the management and Onwubiko.
Abioye commended Onwubiko for showing interest in wildlife preservation.
He said: “This is the first time in the history of Imo where an animal was adopted by an individual.
“Gov. Hope Uzodinma’s administration has advanced the cause of wildlife conservation in Imo. “This arrangement will help to sustain the lifespan of the lions because they are special species, known as West African Lion.
“When any specie of plant or animal goes into extinction or terminated from the system, the world changes so our generation should preserve them from going into extinction.”
Onwubiko told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that he decided to adopt the animals to support wildlife conservation in Nigeria.
He said he would cater for the wellbeing of the lions until the end of the MoU.
“I want to support Imo government to sustain the life of the lions because to feed a lion is very expensive.
“I am a lover of nature and this is one of the ways Onwubiko Foundation will show love to animals and promote wildlife conservation in the country,” he said.
He commended the Imo government for approving the adoption of the lions and advised for an upgrade of the state government-owned facility to international standard.