You don't have to be a journalist, just write what you have to say from the heart. All we ask is that you keep it clean. To post your thoughts or pictures, just fill out our simple registration form. Best of all it's FREE!
Let us hear from you...
« Champs has begun (And a brief look at Wolmers)‘Champs’ 2010 »

From the Archive.....Hope Zoo Memories


Permalink 10:39:22 am, by amilnal
Categories: Culture

From the Archive.....Hope Zoo Memories

One of my fondest childhood memories was when I, along with my class from prep school, went on a school trip to Hope Zoo. That was my first interaction with live wild animals and several exhibits including the snake house and crocodile enclosure captured my imagination. By the time that trip ended, my life-long fascination with the exotic creatures that inhabit the earth had begun in earnest. Fast forward some 20 years later, I haven’t been on the compound since that day in my youth and like most Jamaicans had forgotten all about what is supposed to be our national zoo. I then took it upon myself to gather information about the current state of the zoo. Once I arrived at the zoo, I couldn’t help but notice the well manicured lawn and the fresh foliage at the entrance. Before I entered the compound, I met with the assistant curator Dr. Kamara Rhynd. She explained that the zoo is at the moment going through a rehabilitation phase and new construction and new plans have been made. The newest construction the petting zoo will be opened next week. The zoo plans for the new petting zoo to host several domesticated animals such as sheep and rabbits and more exotic ones such as parrots and peccaries (a relative to the domesticated pig). Dr. Rhynd suggests that the petting zoo’s aim is to assist Jamaicans to garner a healthy respect for animals as opposed to fearing them or even worse abusing them. In addition to the petting zoo, I saw three crocodile exhibits, the snake room, aviaries and several enclosures for endemic and non-endemic species that are currently fully functional and are open to the public. Some exhibits seem to have become worn with age but with the help the zoo receives help from volunteers, usually from both the University of Technology and the University of the West Indies, certain exhibits I saw have been repainted to help the look of the enclosures. Actually, volunteers from UTech were responsible for painting both mongoose enclosure and turtle enclosure and plans are for more exhibits to be done by the volunteers. One of the more interesting exhibits to me had to be the one of the Jamaican iguana. What many Jamaicans probably don’t know is how influential the Hope Zoo has been very in the safeguarding of Jamaican iguana species, which was at one time thought to be extinct. Through the zoo’s Head Start programme, Jamaican iguanas are brought in as hatchings or bred in captivity and then they are reared until they are large enough to survive in the wild and predators such as the mongoose are no longer a threat and are sexually mature. The zoo employs six full time keepers who ensure all the animals’ needs are being met. “We encourage our keepers to keep up with the latest within the realm of animal care.” explained Dr. Rhynd. “What was thought to be adequate animal care 20 years ago might not be true now.” Certain animals are allowed the privilege to free roam the zoo’s grounds. I got the opportunity to see a peacock pass no less than fifty feet in front of me. Dr. Rhynd informed me that the peacocks are basically domesticated and they are permitted to walk around the zoo and instinctively which enclosure they should not go in. I also saw a herd of sheep that were quietly grazing on the lawn while their keepers were trying to get them into a pen. The zoo also contains a quite friendly monkey who was rescued on the north coast by a civilian. This white-throated capuchin, which is not native to the island, actually had one of the larger enclosures that I saw and his exhibit was one of better ones in showing how animals might behave in their natural habitat. My brief tour did reveal some sore points. I was concerned that the lions that I saw 20 years ago had died and the zoo did not replace them. Dr. Rhynd explains that “Ever since its opening in 1961, the basic infrastructure of Hope Zoo has not changed, the infrastructure will have to be changed before adding to variety and the population currently on display at the zoo. What we are trying to make the public understand is that we do want to improve the number of species in the collection but at the moment we need to improve the enclosures before we can do that.” I also felt that more exhibits would need to be on display before visitors to zoo could get their money’s worth. However there are currently plans for the zoo to build more aviaries and a more interactive crocodile exhibit, which will allow the public to see the crocodiles in a more natural habitat. By the end of day, I, unfortunately, saw that not much has changed since my last visit only the positioning of certain exhibits have been altered but I however was very encouraged by all that I had seen and heard about the current animals present and the new plans laid out for the restoration of the zoo. I do however believe that more could be done by the average Jamaican to support the zoo. Hope Zoo was created to be a national landmark for all to enjoy and should be supported as such. So if you have any time, go and enjoy the variety of flora and fauna on display. As for me, I will make sure that 20 years won’t pass again before my next visit.

Our Friends

Jamaica Obituaries
Jamaica Obituaries
Create a lasting celebration of your loved ones with a personalized Obituary Web Site on


Reasons why I love my Jamaican Mom

1. My Mother taught me about ANTICIPATION.
"Just wait till we get home."

2. My Mother taught me about RECEIVING.
"You going get a ass'n when we get home!"

3. My Mother taught me to MEET A CHALLENGE.
"What di backside yu thinkin'? Answer me when me talk to you...Don't talk back to me!"

4. My Mother taught me CONSEQUENCES.
"If yu run cross de road an' cyar lick yu dung, a goin' kill yu wid lick."

5. My Mother taught me THE VALUE OF EDUCATION.
"If yu no go a school, yu a go tun tief or walk an' pick up bottle."

6. My Mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE.
"If yu tun over yu eye lid an fly pitch pan it, it a go stay so fi evva."

7. My Mother taught me to THINK AHEAD.
"Is not one time monkey goin' wan' wife"

8. My Mother taught me ESP.
"Yu tink a don't know what yu up to nuh?"

9. My Mother taught me HUMOR.
"If yu don' eat food, breeze goin' blow yu 'way."

10. My Mother taught me how to BECOME AN ADULT.
"Come an' tek yu beatin' like man."

11. My Mother taught me about SEX.
"Yu tink say yu drop from sky?"

12. My Mother taught me about GENETICS.
"Yu jus' like yu faada."

13. My Mother taught me about my ROOTS.
"Yu tink mi come from "Back A Wall?"

14. My Mother taught me about WISDOM OF AGE.
"When yu get to be as ol' as me, yu wi understan'."

15. And my all time favorite... JUSTICE.
"One day wen yu have pickney, a hope dem treat yu same way."


Photo Highlights

from Photo Album

powered by b2evolution CMS