Animal lovers in Cebu City may want to mark May 15 on their calendars as this was the date set by the Cebu City government to transfer all of the more than 70 animals staying in the Cebu City Zoo to their new home at the Amlan Dreamland Nature and Adventure Park in Amlan town, Negros Oriental province.
It won’t cost an arm and a leg for Cebu City residents to visit this park, but it will cost them and it’s definitely cheaper to watch and enjoy the company of these animals in one’s own city.
Since the Cebu City Zoo is part of the land swap deal entered into by the Cebu City government and Cebu province for the occupants of province-owned lots in the city under Provincial Ordinance 93-1 and the province has other ideas in developing the zoo site, the city government chose to turn over the animals to those who seek to turn a profit from their showcase, and be spared the trouble of caring for them.
Which is a crying shame to those who cared enough to want to keep the animals in Cebu City and maybe propose that the city zoo be relocated to a similarly suitable location even with the attendant maintenance costs that such a move entails and with the current administration being not too keen on keeping the animals.
Anyway, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña is no hardcase when it comes to nature and environmental issues, as he had agreed to establish an aviary supposedly at the Compania Maritima building in partnership with a businessman.
If anything, the mayor was adamant about including the Cebu City Zoo site in the land swap deal with the province long before he won last year, and he would likely retort that it’s more important to prioritize settlers than the animals, some of which were donated to the city.
The mayor would also like to remind critics about the alleged fiscal mismanagement of the Cebu City Zoo by people appointed by his erstwhile ally and now rival former mayor Michael Rama, and how building a new zoo would be too costly for the city to maintain.
That and the likelihood that the city zoo’s income wouldn’t be adequate to cover maintenance and upkeep of the facilities and animals led the mayor to decide without hesitation to close down the zoo permanently.
Then again, Osmeña could have made arrangements with parties interested and willing to house the animals here in Cebu City where residents, especially the schoolchildren, can visit, study and enjoy their company.
And there’s also the report about plans to build a Sea World of sorts at the South Road Properties (SRP) which had drawn flak from staunch environmentalists.
Still, one cannot help but bemoan the city’s impending loss of the zoo animals which brought no small amount of joy to city residents and taught generations of young Cebu City residents the importance of caring for and preserving nature and its creatures.