The Very Sad State of Manila Zoo

Editor’s note: The following are follow up articles by Karen Ang to this entry.

1) The current state of the Manila Zoo by Karen Ang

2) Edwin Lacierda responds to Manila Zoo by Karen Ang

3) Revisiting Manila Zoo by Karen Ang

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


Addendum:  Read The Current State of Manila Zoo for Nix’s firsthand assessment of Manila. My own report can be found here.

Karen Ang

A plebeian who is trying to make small changes in this world.

  • MyWay ,

    I also visited manila zoo as a kid. Last year i visited manila during my birthday. Napabayyan nga siguro maraming nabago….but i dont suggest na isara ito.kaya ako napamahal sa mga hayop ay dahil sa manila zoo at wildlife na dun ako dinadala ng mga magulang ko dati nung bata pa ako….sa totoo lang sa dinami dami ng nagrereklamo dito eh kung nagaambagan na lang kayo ng tig 1k lang para sa manila zoo eh baka makatilong pa kesa pati gobyerno o ibang tao tinutuligsa nyo. O kaya magvolunteer kayo?ang daming pwedeng gawin mas madali lang kasi ang manisi ng ibang tao at magsabi ng hindi magaganda.tapos susulpot pa ang mga animal rights activist na ang gusto ay total animal liberation na kumukuha ng donasyon sa mga tao para ano?kumuha ng mga modelong kayang maghubad papara magrally?

    • scott ,

      sa totoo lang nakakaawa ang kalagayan ng mga hayop sa manila zoo eh.. kung hindi ma solusyonan yan sad to say ipasaraa na lang yan. lalo n yung mga kulungan nila na stress yung mga hayop sa dumi at sikip at luma na… sana my mga mabubuting loob na mag volunteer na ma isaayos ang kalagayan ng zoo na yan…

      ps.\ at nakakahiya din sa mga foreigner na bumibisita sa manila zoo…capitolyo pa ng pilipinas…..

      • jhigz ,

        remove the manila zoo my heart break because of this suffering animals. it is not our priority to get the animal in a cage of nightmare. give them freedom to live and feed by their own ability. get them back to their real home.

        • Noypi ,

          Been there this afternoon, I did not want to agree with what Jonnyperth, but what he said is true. I took my kid to the zoo to see some animals that he’s only seen on TV.  It really is a shameful tourist destination. Very few animals, lots of tigers alright, but I no longer see the animals I’ve seen when I was still a kid.  Poor animals.

          • Manila School ,

            It’s the governments job to fix this terrible problem. They have the power to give funds or change the people in-charge, the could also shut it down and transfer the animals to different zoos. 

            • Dismayado ,

              hindi dapat manila zoo itawag dyan e…manila herabilitation for animals….parang rehab ng mga hayop e….ung mga payat na nagpupumilit na makarecover…sana ilipat nalang tong manila zoo…at gawing first class….sana kasing ganda ng taipei zoo…napakanganda ng zoo na un which is located in taiwan…kulang isang araw para ienjoy mo ung lugar…sana ganun din ang manila zoo…ang dami pa namang tourista ang mahilig sa ganitong places…paasensohin natin ang pinas…hindi ung bulsa naten!

              • Lashell Cassity ,

                Kudos! My wife and I loved your blog post. I am wondering what you think about Evergreen?

                • John Chua ,

                  Hi Karen and all those bloggers with negative views on Manila Zoo. Instead of complaining… Why dont you come and help us improved Manila Zoo. I was just like you ten years ago. With my daughter Kathy we form a zoo volunteer group. We cant solved all the problems that Manila Zoo have. But we could try one step at a time. If you have time please check this link:

                  Thank you.
                  John Chua

                  • duhat, ,

                    putek! ipasara na yang manila zoo n yan. pondo jan binubulsa lang. mga tao tlga, corruption! bobo

                    • GabbyD ,

                      please put the warning at the TOP of the article so visitors can see that the authors opinions have drastically changed.

                      people wont take the time to read till the end.

                      • imyaj13 ,

                        Holy Crap ! Bakit ba kasi ayaw pa nila pakawalan kung di nmn nila aalagaan ng maayos . At san makakarating ang Php20~40 na entrance ? pang lamon ng mga “Keeper” ?

                        • Tonyboy ,

                          Good Expose. Good Job Karen!