The Current State of Manila Zoo

After the maelstrom created by my friend Nix de Pano’s blog post which I also published here, Nix decided to go to Manila Zoo last Thursday morning and see the situation herself. I will do a similar report when I head there this weekend. Nix has given me permission to post her findings here on

I went to Manila Zoo Thursday morning. Two days after posting this blog (reposted on by my friend Karen), the response has been overwhelming. Because of all the people who spread the word, we got it trending worldwide on Twitter, which caught the attention of, a large number of notes on Pinoytumblr, ABS-CBN News, Khaleej Times. We even got a response from the Official Gazette of the Philippine government.

But what exactly is the current state of Manila Zoo?

The photos I posted in my previous blog were not mine. And they were from the years 2008-2010. After the overwhelming response, I felt it was only right to give the zoo a visit, take pictures myself, and show its current state for real.

Again, please feel free to correct me if you see fit.

A short way to describe it would be improved, yes…but still quite depressing. The surroundings appeared to be pleasing to the eye, but if you looked closer and paid attention, you’d see some things were very wrong.

Look at this ostrich, for example.

Manila Zoo

Where have all its feathers gone? And this snake.

Manila Zoo

Is that a plastic bag beside it?

Let’s begin with Mali the elephant, who is female. I mistakeningly called her a “he” in my last post. I apologize for that.

Manila Zoo

The mostly cement enclosure looked hot and uncomfortable.

Manila Zoo

The water around the enclosure–almost gone.

But at least her cage has gotten an extension?

There was a lot of trash lying around. On the pathways, and worse, the animal cages/enclosures.

Manila Zoo
Manila Zoo

Found in the crocodile pond.

Manila Zoo

Also in the crocodile enclosure.

Manila Zoo
Manila Zoo

There’s a water bottle behind the crocodile.

Manila Zoo
Manila Zoo trash
Manila Zoo

Another water bottle in the tiger enclosure.

Manila Zoo

Also from the tiger enclosure.

Manila Zoo

Found on a tree near the entrance.

Manila Zoo

Ant-infested food. I don’t know if that’s an okay thing? At least it looks fresh.

In the carabao enclosure.

Next would be some parts of the zoo that my dad and I couldn’t help raise eyebrows at.

Manila Zoo

Nearly dried-up mini pond in a snake enclosure

Off limits but wide open?

“Information Booth”. With a vending machine and photo display!

And now, the state of the animals. Some appeared to be all right, to a person like me who has no zoological background.

There were quite a lot of crocodiles in this enclosure. But something tells me it could’ve been worse. And then I saw this one crocodile…

I’m not sure what that is on its head, but it looks like a wound to me.

This monkey had expressions that made me stay and watch him a bit longer than I did the rest. I also observed that some monkeys were able to squeeze out of their cages. Again, I don’t know if they made the cages like that on purpose.

Some from the aviaries…

This one, again, appeared to be alright.

but I zoomed in to his beak and I can’t tell if that’s normal.

There were a LOT of birds in the main aviary…but the one that caught my attention the most was this one:

It looked practically dead to me.
Then we went to see the horses.

The other two seemed fine…

But not this one.

Beside the horse enclosure was the carabao enclosure.

but there was also a horse there. Another thin one, at that. And the enclosure was almost devoid of greenery.

We went to see the tigers as well. But one thing that bothered us was…

Right smack into this tiger’s enclosure, music was booming loudly from some speakers.

Probably the most depressing thing for me was watching these ostriches…

They kept reaching for food that was no longer there.

And seriously…what happened to their feathers?

There were some pleasant parts of the zoo, though.

The Kinder Zoo looked very inviting.

For more than twice the normal entrance fee, of course.
My dad and I did not have time to go inside.

And there were nice lounge spots for people.

But the most important thing–the welfare of the animals. I don’t think they’ve got that down just yet. In fact, PETA has renewed calls to close down the zoo. They will reportedly be staging a protest there today.

But I can say that a big contribution to these problems at the zoo are also the visitors. Why throw your trash into the animal cages/enclosures? Are they some sort of glorified garbage bins? These animals are LIVING CREATURES, just like us. Not some attractions to be toyed with.

Well. Whatever happens, I hope it’s for the better. And that these animals will be able to live better lives.

Original post is at

Although Manila Zoo is looks better now compared to 2008 to 2010, at least according to photos, there are still some very unhealthy animals inside. The amount of trash is disturbing and I agree with Nix that the actions of visitors play a huge role in this dilemma. I don’t know why some people think it’s okay to throw trash inside the animals’ habitats. I’m sure it’s a big pain in the neck to clean the zoo every day.

It’s really hard to judge Manila Zoo based on photos. We can only be sure if we see it for ourselves but I will try to give an accurate a feedback as possible after I go there.

Karen Ang

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

  • Chescka Diaz

    I suggest you go talk to Dr. Donald Manalastas, the head of the Zoological Division of Manila Zoo. He’s more then willing to EXPLAIN FURTHER everything you criticized negatively here in your blog post. I am a broadcast communication student from PUP. We’re actually filming a documentary right now featuring the issues that Manila Zoo is facing. We totally had this negative impression on the zoo when we saw your posts. But then we decided not to take sides since we’re media practitioners. Dr. Manalastas helped us understand the condition of the animals and stopped our playful minds from assuming negatively. He personally offered to take us on a tour inside the zoo. And of course, we raised almost the same questions you had in your posts. I hope you consider talking to him the next time you visit the zoo. I just think it’s unfair for you to post ONLY the negative stuff that you saw which you did not understand, obviously. Thank you.

  • Terrabreaker

    yung ostrich, mainit lang kaya naglalagas ng feathers. Yung pakain sa kanila, ganun talaga. naubos na nila yung food nila. Ganyan din ang ostrich namin. Hindi lalake ng ganyan ang ostrich kapag hinde sila pinapakin ng marame. Yung peacock, nakahiga lang yan. ganda kasi ng angulo ng kuha mo e. The carabao/horse with marasmus, the zoo prolly obtained them in such a poor state, and they are trying to nurse it back to health. (tignan mo naman, iisa lang ang buto’t balat. yung kasama nya, hinde). The bird with a wierd beak, gawa ng katandaan yun kaya naaagnas na yung part ng beak. Its just a discoloration, part of aging. not infectious. But tama ka dun sa basura!. Pero hindi lang zoo keepers ang may responsibilidad nyan. Ang mga sambayanang pilipono ang nagtatapon nyan. Tayo tayo din ang nagkakalat ng basura jan. Natsempohan mo na hindi lang cleaning time. 

  • what happen to Manila Zoo?? this is so bad!

  • last time we went there it looks fine…there were lot of improvements…but seeing the photos…it breaks my heart to see these poor animal in that state. visitors should really do their part to keep the zoo clean. Where are the attendants anyway?

  • It made me want to see it for myself, too. As it turns out, the photos may have been outdated but it was not really misleading. It still lead people to do something about the zoo, albeit with violent reactions.

  • at least the animals look a lot better than the last. i mean, they have grown in numbers now i suppose.

    i also think the zoo looks like it needs more green, more trees.. and more space.

    will try to visit the zoo if i have time. it’s been 13 years.. whoa!