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Lim rejects developer’s offer of 50 hectares of land in exchange for Manila Zoo

By Pat C. Santos
07/26/2011 [ tribune.net.ph ]

Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim has rejected the developer’s offer of a 50 hectares of land in Cavite and Tagaytay in exchange for the historic Manila Zoo located in Malate, Manila.

Lim made mention of the offer yesterday during the 52nd anniversary celebration of the oldest zoo in Asia which was built at the time of the late Manila Mayor Arsenio Lacson.

Lim reiterated the zoo will remain in the city as long as he is still the mayor of Manila.

“This is a heritage to the people of Manila which is a priceless gift by our predecessor, and thousand of students are benefitted from it as they can see the real animals alive not only in pictures and in books or on films but in real life as well,” Lim said.

Lim, who was accompanied by Engineer Beng Manimbo, director of the City Parks and Recreation Bureau during the ceremony, thanked and turned over plaques of appreciation to private entities which are helping and donating money in support to the maintenance and caring for the animals. The recipients of the plaques were Alberto Lopez; Nel Lopez of the Associated Ship Management Services Inc. (ASMSI); Alan Ching, president and CEO of Canon Marketing Philippines Inc.; Bong Cervo; Arthur Florendo, president union of Galva Steel Corp.; Mila Roxas, representative of Environmental Management Bureau and John Chua who volunteered in feeding the 38-year-old female elephant.

One of the highlights of the celebration was the blessing of the new Multi-purpose Center and the rehabilitation of the Manila Zoo fish pond.

Lim also said that he had written to eight ambassadors from South East Asia to ask for donation of some animals for Manila Zoo and for the Calauit Island in Palawan province as well.

Lim led the release of at least 3,000 fingerlings of tilapia into the lagoon which is also used for boating by spectators.

According to Lim, private companies which contribute to the zoo’s development are worthy of emulation, as he stressed the need to keep the zoo open, citing the recreational and educational purposes it provides for the residents of Manila particularly children.

“Children, especially students, get to see the animals in pictures and on films, pero iba siyempre ‘yung actual where they see the animals move so close and sometimes even getting the opportunity to pet them,” the mayor said.

“`Yung kasiyahan at karanasan na makukuha ng mga bata at matanda kapag nakikita `yung mga hayop ay hindi mabibili ng salapi,” he added.

Lim also bared that he has written to a number of ambassadors in Southeast Asian countries asking for animal donations.

Also, it was learned that there have been offers for the transfer of the zoo either to Tagaytay or Cavite but he rejected them.

According to Lim, Manila has the cheapest zoo rates compared to other cities and countries which are pegged at only P40 for adults and P20 for children.

Manimbo said that at times children of touring schools get free admission along with senior citizens and those with handicap or forms of disability.

Lim took exception to the calls of an organization for animal’s rights to shut down the zoo, with a demand for the animals there to be released in the forest or in jungle. According to Lim, the animals there are all domesticated and have adjusted fully to their present home and that bringing them to the jungle would be greatly difficult for them to adjust.
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