Saturday, November 27, 2004

Save the Zoo!

Animal show Posted by Hello

It might seem strange that our National Zoo or Zoo Negara, one of the earliest and best known zoological institution in the country is not actually managed by the government. The Zoo ever since 1963 has grown into quite a reputable zoo to say the least although the various challenges faced throughout the years such as development encircling the site and demands from certain quarters to relocate the zoo to a different site and to redevelop the prime property it is currently sited on. I’ve always been fascinated with Zoo Negara ever since I first stepped into it’s main gate when just a toddler, hours running around with my cousins and dad and being fascinated by the various animal's antics, eating lunch at the crowded KFC eatery (now defunct), riding the train ride around the grounds, watching the birds congregate at the lake and enjoying the daily shows put on by the resident animals like the seals, elephants and parrots. Recently development of new attractions such as the savannah exhibit and primate area really adds a lot to the zoo. Thus it is sad to hear that without further funding and support by the government and contributors the Zoo may not see another five years. Already exhibits such as the aquarium has been closed due to costs in upgrading and stocking the tanks with fishes.

Beset by a lack of funds to develop the area, feed the countless animals here (many are of rare species on the verge of extinction) and pay its staff, the Zoo has resorted to the last option available, a plea to surrender management to the government. The very same one that wanted to demolish the site and relocate every animal there (despite the cost and trauma) to a site off Gombak or Putrajaya which thankfully never happened. Zoo Negara has been entrenched in Malaysian psyche ever since many of us were young, many of us have at least visited the site once and despite the setbacks the society has done a very good job in providing educational exhibits, natural enclosure emulating the animal’s habitat and offering a place close to the hustle and bustle of Kl for families to enjoy a weekend at the zoo.

It’ll be a sad day if the Zoo was forced to be closed and it has my vote to the government to help save this fine institution and maybe even allow the Malaysian Zoological Society a hand in continuing managing the Zoo. The Society has done so much and has to the best of their ability finance, manage and operate a great zoo. Despite the development, Zoo Negara is strategically placed to allow easy access for people to visit, provide a green lung for the area and is an important migratory and resting ground for birds of all kind. I may be guilty in not helping contribute money to help defer the cost of running of the zoo but I never ever miss a chance to visit and pay the RM10 entrance fees to visit the animals and help in part. So to the government, consider the offer, help save our living heritage of a zoo and let kids for generations enjoy the wonders for years to come.

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