Published on Monday, 04 February 2013 14:40
President’s Office Minister Soe Thein is considering turning Yangon Zoo into a green park and relocating it outside the city’s core.
He floated his plan during a press conference in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday, noting that zoo animals smelled bad and suggesting that they posed a health threat due to possible epidemics. He proposed moving the animals to Hlawga National Park, which located outside the downtown area.
Soe Thein also said the zoo move was just an idea and pledged that he would only do what the public wanted. His proposal was not intended to make money through wheeling and dealing with businessmen, he added.
“We are considering how to bring positive things [for the people]. But if the people refuse it and say they will live with such foul smells, we won’t proceed,” Soe Thein said.
The zoo has functioned as a recreational site, study point and conservation centre since it was established with public donations in 1901, in honour of Queen Victoria.
In 2011, the government transferred the zoo to the Htoo Group of Companies, which is owned by tycoon Tay Za. Those expecting an expansion or upgrade have been disappointed. No new animals have appeared.
Yangon resident Dr. Myint Thein described the zoo as part of the city’s heritage. “Yangon Zoological Garden is a zoo that is more than 100 years old. We need to value it as a historical site. If you shift it outside the city, it will fade away,” he said.
“Under the previous [military] regime, we didn’t speak out because we were not allowed to do so. Now we will not accept such things and speak out. [Moving the zoo] is totally unacceptable,” he said.
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