Zoo Negara breaks target number of visitors this year


Catching a break: Zoo Negara celebrates surpassing its target for visitors as the year-end school holiday sees streams of people dropping by. It’s a far cry from the height of movement restrictions when the zoo was on the brink of closing down.

KUALA LUMPUR: Zoo Negara has received nearly 600,000 visitors, surpassing its target of attracting 450,000 this year.

Zoo Negara deputy president Rosly@Rahmat Ahmat Lana said the increase is contributed by the year-end school holidays and offerings of interesting deals.

“We will normally receive more visitors, especially to the Giant Panda Conservation Centre, at the end of the year.

“We are offering a free ticket to Malaysian citizens on their birthday month, and the promotion is valid for 30 days from their birthday,” he told Bernama yesterday after receiving RM200,000 in donation from foodpanda Malaysia to the Giant Panda Conservation Centre.

Rosly said the conservation centre has four pandas – Xing Xing, Liang Liang, Sheng Yi and Yi Yi. He, however, added that Yi Yi, who is almost four years old, would be sent back to the panda conservation centre in China on Dec 20.

“Normally, giant panda cubs will only stay at Zoo Negara for two years. However, due to the enforcement of the movement control order and border closure, Yi Yi could not be sent home according to schedule,” he said.

He also expressed his gratitude to foodpanda Malaysia for its donation and hoped that more corporate bodies would come forward to support the national zoo.

Rosly’s update was a much welcome change for Zoo Negara, which had struggled with finances during the darkest days of the pandemic.

Bernama reported in November 2020 that the third wave of Covid-19 nearly led to the shutdown of the zoo, prompting many well-wishers to donate to keep it afloat.

Then, Zoo Negara zoology, veterinary & Giant Panda Conservation Centre director Dr Mat Naim Ramli said the zoo only had enough emergency funds to last three months.

He said the zoo’s closure since the conditional MCO was imposed made it difficult to meet operating costs, which is about RM1mil per month.

Dr Mat Naim said wages alone costs RM400,000, while food costs RM350,000, with utilities coming in at RM180,000.

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