Revisiting Manila Zoo

First of all, I want to apologize for hastily reposting a blog post which wasn’t really well researched and used dated photos of Manila Zoo. My love for animals made my heart cry out after seeing the disturbing photos. By reposting it, I helped create the stir that Manila Zoo has sunk so low which isn’t exactly the case after seeing it for myself this morning. My heartfelt apology to the Manila Zoo authorities and those directly affected by the commotion. However, I will not apologize to the other agencies who oversee the budget which goes to the zoo because it is very underfunded. Manila Zoo needs a lot of funding among other things. I hereby present what I found out from my trip this morning.

My friends Faith, Fritz and I met up with some zoo volunteers who shed some light on the efforts the staff and volunteers are doing to improve Manila Zoo from how it was years ago. They said that Manila Zoo has improved a lot compared to 6 years ago.

The volunteers told me that when PETA staged a protest outside the zoo last July 15, their noise agitated the animals and they weren’t any help anyway. I was told that they would rather kill the animals than see them inside the zoo. I find this information very disturbing since they claim they want what’s best for the animals.

We met Mali the elephant and even fed her fruits. She seemed happy enough and content. The zoo has a waterfall for her so she can drink and stay cool.

We also saw the ostriches and they looked kind of sickly. The volunteers explained that the feathers look like that because of their seasonal shedding (That’s the explanation but if that’s not really the case, please let me know). Also, the ostrich kept on pecking at the cage which was kind of disturbing.

There’s an overpopulation of turtles. Some were donated by those who didn’t want to keep them as pets anymore and the donated ones keep on breeding.

Some of the cages need fixing up, the ones for the monkeys in particular. According to the volunteers, the zoo is just waiting for the go signal (and funds) from the government to build the new cages. We saw a monkey go out from his cage and visit a neighbor but the volunteer reassured us that the monkey will go back to his cage.

The tigers looked content although there were a few skinny ones. According to the volunteer, the animals are well fed but since the visitors keep on throwing plastic and other trash inside the cages, some animals ingest them and they get sick and sometimes they never get back to good health or worse, they die.

There was an information booth but it wasn’t very informational.

We noticed that there weren’t many trash inside and outside the cages this time compared to when Nix de Pano went last July 14. It should also be noted that we didn’t get to see the horses (Nix posted photos of 2 skin and bones horses). Also, some of the enclosures are very small in my opinion.

Here are photos of the healthier animals.

Inside Manila Zoo is Kinder Zoo, a privately-owned zoo. The contrast from the main zoo is apparent as soon as we entered the section. It is very clean, well-tended and offers a more interactive approach. There are less animals but all were very healthy. This zoo also provides activities for the kids such as rock climbing, zip line, swimming, and petting the animals. However, those who want to go inside has to pay an extra P100 per adult and P50 per child.

As you can see from the above photos, Kinder Zoo is so much better than the main zoo. What I personally want to happen to Manila Zoo is for them to be something like Kinder Zoo. I believe it is best for them to have a private company as a partner who can provide funding for its improvement and maintenance. Improvements such as more cleaning crew and heads who can give a guided tour to visitors are very much needed. Since Manila Zoo doesn’t acquire animals anymore except the abandoned and donated ones, I think there are enough zoo keepers to handle the animals. It’s already almost impossible for the animals to be transported and have them adapt to a new surrounding so they have to remain where they currently are.

Manila Zoo will remain the same if they just rely on government funding. The government will always prioritize people over animals and nothing will ever change that. Since the government’s budget has been depleted by the previous administration, we can expect that allocations will go to poverty alleviation, education, infrastructure, and other aspects more basic to man. Arts and entertainment, and this includes government zoos, will hardly get a share of the budget. Getting Manila privatized or semi-privatized is what’s best if we want a better zoo. It might mean that the entrance fee will increase but the current fee of P40 can only cover a little of the zoo’s expenses. If the government will allow a semi-private Manila Zoo to be tax-free, the increase to the entrance fee should not be much.

The zoo needs reliable volunteers who are willing to help regularly. The current volunteers told me that they need people who will give guided tours, clean the enclosures and remind the stubborn public not to throw trash inside enclosures and not to tease the animals. My friends and I are going to volunteer from time to time and if you are interested to join, feel free to contact me.

I hope this report somehow gave the people of Manila Zoo a voice but it is still best if you go there personally so you can judge for yourself.


Fritz insisted that I add the artistic photos he took.

Please also take the time to read Faith’s post about our visit.

Karen Ang

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

  • Celina_lesaca ,

    Are you trying to say you’d rather have those animals die in that filthy “bulok” zoo? Manila zoo is the worst zoo in the planet ! compare it to the zoos in the US and even the zoo in the middle east ! Manila zoo needs to shut down fast ! Im an animal lover ! and I take home animals that need help . and, those monkeys are cage and tortured . The last time I went there little kids were throwing trash to the tigers and monkeys . what if you were thrown trash by those kids ? would you get pissed ? Im sure those monkey , but NO ! they are helpless !
    and plus ! We give them funds ! Im sorry but I think wrong about the care takers and the doctor of that zoo ! They are corrupt ! They keep the funds to themselves . Im sorry for being harsh , but I do think wrong about them ! Close the Zoo ! and give the animals to lets say , Avilon zoo ! they will take care of it even more .Β 

    • Realskullzero ,

      hey Karen thanks for the post, I am acutally a reader from SriLanka, there was much media attention here abt an elephant that is to be gifted to Manila Zoo from the Governmetn of SL just recently. I am not sure if this is Mali? In anycase i really hope the situation of Manila Zoo improves soon and plight of many animals will be better off. For me personally Zoos in anywhere are just prisons for the wild animals.

      • AJ Saavedra ,

        Wow! A blog reader referred this post to me as I also wrote something on the heartbreaking situation of Manila Zoo animals, as shown in television. I’m glad they’re doing better now. I hope many people care enough to help maintain and care for them. Thank you for this educational post. πŸ™‚

        • John Chua ,

          Fritz. you are indeed a very good photographer – your photos speaks better than what i have seen in all these photos posted in the blogs recently. may i invite you again and join me this time in manila zoo. thanks… john chua

          see ou this coming sunday

          • John Chua ,

            Fritz. you are indeed a very good photographer – your photos speaks better than what i have seen in all these photos posted in the blogs recently. may i invite you again and join me this time in manila zoo. thanks… john chua

            • Sacha Chua ,

              Great post, and amazing pictures. Working on my write-up linking to you now! Thank you for digging beneath the surface of the sensationalism. =)

              • Harvey Chua ,

                MANILA ZOO and PROFITS? Unfortunately, they don’t go together, not at P40 admission fees, P20 for those from Manila, and free for seniors like me. Instead of simply criticizing or passing judgment not based on facts, why not help, volunteer, or least find out the truth?

                • Karen Ang ,

                  That’s why I would rather that the zoo’s fee be increased to at least P50 minimum. The additional P10 could go to more food, medicines and maintenance of the zoo. My friends and I have plans to volunteer, sir.

                  • Sacha Chua ,

                    Heh, speaking of confusing names – Harvey Chua up there is actually my mom (she was named after one of my grandfather’s best friends). No biggie!

                    I’m delighted that you and your friends are making Manila Zoo’s cause your own, too. As litter is one of the big challenges facing the zoo, I wonder if we can find a creative way to sustainably address that…

                    P 50 admission would be nice – easier to make change for, too.

                • Joan Marie ,


                  • Thai Anton ,

                    I think we can blame GMA for the sad state of Manila zoo, it only reflects the kind of people manning the zoo during GMA admin. He he

                    • UP nn Grad ,

                      .. Also amusing the line that the crtics — PETA — just want to kill the animals.

                    • Responsible Blogger ,

                      Karen Ang! This is what I am taking about responsible journalism in my prior comments about the recent posts you and Nix De PAno did. Job well done this time!

                      THE PROUD FILIPINO BLOGGER

                    • GabbyD ,

                      ok. so how can people help the zoo, if they wanted to? are there ways to volunteer? what do volunteers do? donations? etc… some details like this would be useful.

                      • Faith ,

                        Hey GabbyD. The zoo is currently wary of volunteers because of some people from PETA pretending to have good intentions when they went there. Contact me or Karen. We’ll email you guys.

                        • Carl ,

                          Hi Ms. Faith,

                          I would love to volunteer. I’ve been a Manila resident for the first 18 years of my life, but have only been to the zoo no more than 5 times. After reading Ms. Karen’s and your blogs, I was disappointed at myself for never having thought of volunteering for the zoo and being so passive when it was so easy to be otherwise. I would like to make up for lost time. Please email me about volunteering. πŸ™‚ Thank you.

                          • Karen Ang ,

                            Hi, Carl. I will send you an email πŸ™‚

                            • Faith ,

                              Hey Karen,

                              Already emailed Carl. Will cc you. πŸ™‚

                      • Ding | Explored! ,

                        This is good to hear you have done this yourself. I was one of those who ‘criticized’ you for re-posting that irresponsible blog entry. Great job!

                        PETA isn’t actually helping at all. They want to politicize things rather than help for the conservation and protection of animals.

                        • Karen Ang ,

                          Thank you for understanding πŸ™‚

                          • Joan Marie ,

                            So not true! I think PETA wants what is best for the animals. THE MANILA ZOO IS USING ANIMALS FOR PROFIT.