Me and my friends visited Asia’s oldest zoo, the Manila Zoo. Aside from being the oldest, I guess this zoo is also the poorest zoo in Asia (or in the world).
I think the last time I went to this zoo was nine years ago. Nothing really changed except the entrance fee is higher now. P100 for Non-Manilans, P50 for Manilans and students and free for kids 4-ft. below. My P50 was not worth it since there are lesser animals, dirty surroundings and poorly maintained facilities. Back then, there are interesting animals to visit here like orangutans, lions and giraffes but they’re gone now. I guess this zoo never improved.
The animals’ cages are ugly and not conducive for living. If they’re people, they’re those who live in poverty. The zoo should make the animals they’re at home by making their cages more like their natural habitat. Poor zoo animals, we see their plight instead of appreciating them being animals.
Mali, 40 years old, is the Philippines’ only elephant but the zoo’s administration is not giving their best to take care of her. Since she was a baby elephant, she’s living in a cemented cage. Because her feet walk on a concrete pavement, she got wounds and infections. That’s so sad that after four decades of her service to the zoo-goers, all she got was a foot ailment. Mali is sad because she’s suffering and she’s alone.
The wild boars’ cage are full of rocks! That’s far from their natural habitat which is the rainforest. The monkeys’ cage are full of trash! The monkeys are playing with the garbage and I’m concerned that they might eat those. Zoo-goers should not throw their garbage inside cages. The area where the deer, goats, horses, water buffaloes, sheep and zebras live are not even grassy. How can they survive such kind of terrain? How irresponsible! Most of the animals in the zoo are also alone and don’t have any partner and I think that make them sad. The hippopotamus, lioness, bear cats and Mali are all alone. I can feel their sadness. They are living a lonely and sedentary life. They are away from home and they don’t have any companion.
The bird cages are not even properly maintained. The place where they drink is like a canal. The water is dirty! Some birds are also not inside their cages and some of the staff there are not even concerned. My friend asked one staff there why there’s a bird that’s not inside the cage. He answered, “There are many birds here that have escaped. They’re headaches for us because they defecate anywhere. All of them should be killed because they’re too many!” I was shocked to his answer. I thought zookeepers are animal lovers.
Manila Zoo is a boring zoo. A boring zoo for its visitors and animal lovers because their entrance is not worth it. A boring zoo for its staff because I guess they’re not doing their best to take care of it. A boring zoo for the animals because they’re not in a good condition.
Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada promised that he will rehabilitate the zoo. I think he should do this soon. Animals have lives too and they’re not to stay in the zoo forever so, the local government should do their best to make the animals there happier, safer and free from stress.
Clean the zoo! Save the animals!