In as close to an ideal world as humanly possible, humanity and creation would live side by side with each other in relative peace and harmony, a so-called “ecopolis” where people practice sustainable living and creatures and plant life thrive amid the most eco-friendly trappings of modern society.
But that’s certainly not the case in most parts of the world, in general the Philippines and in particular Cebu City, where the zoo is about to be shut down and most of the animals to be transferred to Amlan town, Negros Oriental province which asked the city if it can care for them.
An inspection by the Departments of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Agriculture (DA) bore out Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña’s plans to shut down the zoo whose area will be used as a bargaining chip by his administration to convince the province not to pursue their Ciudad commercial development.
Among their observations is that the facility itself, after all these years of operation, isn’t suitable to house all the animals, most of which were donated by groups eager to have a sustainable zoo in the city.
During the administration of former mayor Michael Rama, stewardship of the city zoo was turned over to Giovanni Romarante, who is now accused by Mayor Osmeña of making profit from the zoo through the “snake massages” and by allowing his family to stay there.
Both charges have been denied by Romarante but it’s doubtful if the city government would even bother pursuing the charges owing to the mayor’s plan to sell the property where it stands on and transfer the animals to Amlan town, where the DENR said they are better suited to stay in.
The mayor may have also planned to sell the property anyway even without a deal from the province since he may have considered that taking care of a bunch of animals is a lot of trouble and inconvenience than they’re worth.
Which is both sad and frustrating for Cebu City residents who look to have a zoo where animals of all sort can be cared for, viewed and studied safely from a distance at a time when living space for these creatures continues to shrink due to the ever-expanding footprints and demand for living space by their human stewards who are supposed to care for them.
When the opposition Team Rama bloc called on the mayor to have a closure plan on the city zoo, they have realistically considered the possibility that their appeal would
fall on deaf ears since the mayor already had his own.
Regardless of the charges and counter-charges of mismanagement and corruption hurled by both sides of the city’s political fence, we’d like to believe and hope that they have the welfare of the animals in mind once the city zoo shuts down for good.
At least they would be looked after by the Amlan municipal government, who may prove to be better stewards and guardians for them than the politically messed up Cebu City government.
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