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23.09.2003 Regional News

Chiefs And People of Wecheau Honour Visiting Canadians

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Wecheau (U/W), Sept. 23 GNA - Calgary Zoo in Canada is supporting the Wecheau Community Hippo Sanctuary in the Wa District with 10,000 dollars a year, over the next five years for the promotion and development of eco-tourism in the area.

Already, for the past four years, Calgary Zoo has been supporting the community in the management of the sanctuary by providing funding and technical assistance to the community.

In appreciation for this support, the Paramount Chief of Wecheau Traditional Area, Naa Goma Imoro Nandom and his Divisional and Sub-Chiefs and people on Monday organised a grand durbar at Wecheau at which the visiting Chief Executive Officer of the Calgary Zoo, Mr Alex Graham and his delegation were honoured.

Mr Graham was enskinned honorary chief of Bazaa, a community within the Hippo Sanctuary.

Also honoured was Mr Brian Keatings, a member of the delegation, who was enskinned Sub-Chief of Dompie.

Dignitaries, who witnessed the ceremony included, the Regional Minister, Mr Sahanun Mogtari, Mr Abubakar Saddique Boniface, Deputy Minister of Tourism and Modernisation of the Capital City and Mr Godfrey Tangu, Wa Municipal Chief Executive.

Earlier this year, a three-man delegation from the Traditional Area, led by the Paramount Chief visited Canada at the invitation of the Management of the Calgary Zoo.

Speaking his enskinment, the Bazaa Naa outlined a number of packages his organization was mobilising to help the community to realise its objectives for setting up sanctuary.

These include funding for the drilling of bore holes in Wecheau, the publication of materials about the Sanctuary and the provision of other tourism related facilities.

Mr Boniface called on communities in the country with tourist attraction to support interested organizations to develop and promote tourist attraction in their localities. This he said would go a long way to reduce poverty in rural areas, as the areas would be opened up for development and the creation of tourism related jobs.

He called for the sustainable management of tourist sites pointing out that earnings from tourism could be inexhaustible if the sites were managed on sustainable basis.

In his welcoming address, Mr Tangu said the visit of the delegation was a manifestation of its profound concern for the conservation of nature and the promotion of eco-tourism.

He expressed the hope that the visit had offered them the opportunity to have first hand information about the eco-system of the environment in which the hippos lived.

Mr Mogtari said the visit would enhance collaborative efforts in conserving the rich bio-diversity of the Wecheau Hippo Sanctuary.

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