Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Very Sad State of Manila Zoo (Mirror)

By Karen Ang

Editor's note: this is a mirror of the article by Karen Ang, which was published on ProPinoy.  I am publishing it here because our servers are overwhelmed with traffic. 
When I was in grade school, we used to have field trips at Manila Zoo ( The zoo was in a sad state back then but after reading my friend Nix de Pano’s blog post, I became upset at how neglected the zoo is now. I will repost photos and some excerpts here.
The Manila Zoo is a 5.5-hectare zoo located in Manila, Philippines. It opened on July 25th, 1959. This zoo is almost 50 years old. The problem? It really does look 50 years old. Another problem? It receives millions of visitors every year, local and foreign. What a shameful tourist destination it is.

Dirt-cheap entrance fees. Probably one of the reasons for the zoo’s poor maintenance. Sadly they have no right to charge more either, based from the condition of the zoo.
Map of the zoo. Looks small and simple enough. But “small” is one of the zoo’s biggest problems.
Old, rusty cages. Hardly any animal in sight.
This is Mali, the zoo’s biggest attraction. He is an Asian elephant that arrived at the zoo as an orphaned calf donated from Sri Lanka. He is the biggest attraction but what kind of an enclosure is that? It’s sad, small, tight and boring.
Yes there is a tiger in this photo. Yes those are dead leaves from who knows how many days or weeks. Why isn’t anyone cleaning up the mess?
An even worse mess–literal trash? What is wrong with this zoo’s maintenance?
You can almost see its bones. Sick and not in the cool way.
How could it possibly get worse than that?
How about this rabbit’s untreated wound?
Or this ostrich with a dead eye?
I also found some more stories from visitors. A visitor from the US went to the zoo because his wife said it would be a good experience. He was able to watch in horror as a zookeeper punished an alligator by stabbing its head with a nail attached to a stick. (source) Another visitor claimed to have spotted a Philippine Eagle lying down dead on the pathway. The same person said a Palawan bear cat suddenly dropped dead in his cage in front of their 7-year-old nephew. (source)
It seems that there are also issues with the people who visit the zoo. A reviewer who used to love the zoo visited again recently and complained about people throwing things at the animals. (source) Another reviewer reported a man who fed a bird to the crocodiles, but was only answered with “that is no longer our concern.” (source)
Some people even called it “The Worst Zoo I’ve Ever Visited”, and said “Needs to be closed.” Another suggested, “Do not support this zoo. Go to the Philippine Avilon Zoo instead!”.
Sad, isn’t it? Our capital’s namesake zoo, a complete and utter shame. This zoo was once a good one. But poor maintenance ruined and destroyed it. Because of this, animals are suffering. I’d say they would be better off elsewhere, because this zoo is no shelter.
Unless things change.
According to the PETA Asia Pacific website, there were reports of Thailand planning to send a new elephant to Manila Zoo at the request of Mayor Alfredo Lim. But fortunately for them, it was found that Thailand had no such plan.
PETA Asia has apparently been campaigning against the zoo for years now. They sent the Mayor many requests to visit the zoo and see for himself the suffering the animals had to endure. The requests were ignored.
How are things supposed to change when our officials ignore these calls for change?
I guess all we can do is keep trying. Spread awareness, and pray that somehow, something will happen for the good of the zoo.
In fact, the zoo is reportedly attempting to improve their facilities.
Let’s see how that will turn out.
Edit: PETA Asia-Pacific has a petition you can sign to Stop More Animals from Suffering at the Manila Zoo. See it here.
How many times have we heard that Manila Zoo is trying to improve their facilities yet nothing changes. In fact, it has become so deplorable and inhumane that I would rather see it closed for good and the animals transferred to another country with better zoos.
Who is answerable to this? The Manila Zoo authorities? The City of Manila? Or us because we allowed this to happen? Certainly it is not the animals’ fault but they are the ones suffering the consequences.
We have enslaved the rest of the animal creation, and have treated our distant cousins in fur and feathers so badly that beyond doubt, if they were able to formulate a religion, they would depict the Devil in human form.  ~William Ralph Inge, Outspoken Essays, 1922

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