HCM CITY — The Sai Gòn Zoo and Botanical Garden has asked for financial support of VNĐ30 billion (US$1.3 million) from the HCM City Department of Construction to maintain its business amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The money will be used this year to take care of the zoo’s animals and plants, according to the zoo’s director Phạm Văn Tan.
“The zoo closed in May following COVID-19 containment measures launched by the city government.”
“We are self-financed with income mostly from ticket sales, so we are facing challenges to keep our business alive,” he said.
The zoo needs about VNĐ6 billion ($259,000) per month to care for and feed its plants and animals.
Nearly five tonnes of meat, vegetables, fruits and leaves should be offered daily. These ingredients, supplied by the zoo’s partners alongside its own farm in Củ Chi District, should be clean, fresh and meet quality and disease checks before being processed by specialists.
Last year, the zoo launched a social media campaign in August that called for public donations following its closure due to the second COVID-19 outbreak.
The zoo received more than 20 tonnes of meat, fruits and vegetables donated by visitors, individuals and organisations in HCM City and neighbouring provinces.
More than VNĐ2.5 billion ($107,000) in cash was also included.
“We called for help from the public to help us take care of around 1,500 animals, including hundreds of rare species,” said Mai Khắc Trung Trực, head of the zoo’s animal division.
The zoo’s staff of 270 agreed to a 30 per cent cut in their monthly salary starting in August last year, but continued to work full-time to care for the animals.
The Sai Gòn Zoo and Botanical Garden was established in 1895 and is the country’s largest zoo and botanical garden. It is located in Nguyễn Bỉnh Khiem Street in District 1. It is home to hundreds of species of mammals, reptiles, birds, and rare orchids and ornamental plants.
The zoo includes the Museum of Vietnamese History of more than 25,000 artefacts featuring the traditional culture of South Viet Nam.
It has worked with international organisations such as the South East Asian Zoos Association (SEAZA) and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). — VNS
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